July 29, 2010

Doesn't Anyone Want To Create Something Anymore?

This may be a mass generalization that I'm making, but as I sit in front of the box and watch the commercials roll past, I can't help but feel that the advertising that is being aired is getting as dumbed down as the programming. I've resigned myself to the fact that reality television is here to stay. Yes, it was novel back in the day when "The Real World" hit the airwaves, but to see what it has blossomed into says a lot about our culture and the media. Writers don't write for shows anymore, they've gotten lazy. Programs consist of recording reactions to certain stimuli and then cleverly editing them together to fill a :23 minute time slot. There is very little creativity that goes into so many shows now and our society still eats up the fluff.  Why do I care about who the biggest loser is, or who the latest victim is going to be who is destined for marital bliss?  Yes, I understand that we're in a bit of a voyeuristic society and that people can't help but watch when they see a car wreck coming, but to have most of today's programming reflecting a model that is based mainly on others misfortune is starting to get sad and tired.

The advertisers that I see on a regular basis are reflecting this same mentality in a sense. The creativity is missing in so much of the advertising out there. Companies are choosing to spoon feed their audiences their messaging in a desperate attempt to get their service or product recognized. Yes it is challenging to get the attention of a viewer that has a bit of ADD with that remote and can DVR and fastforward programming, but to boil down messaging so much that there is no thought needed to get the message across, is not the answer. A prime example would be AT&T. Their series of commercials featuring one of the Baldwin brothers are so tiring to watch. Literally showing a coverage map laid over whatever scenario that they are portraying, yes, gets the point across, but where’s the bigger idea? This seems to be a trend for advertisers, to create unmemorable spots that have no challenge or opportunity for personal interpretation. They are missing an opportunity to resonate with the viewer by spoon feeding their message, instead of letting their audience figure out what the advertising is trying to say, and in turn allowing them to develop an affinity for their product based on a personal connection to the advertising. They got the creative, they figured out a play on words or a visual metaphor and now have something they can relate to. They can share with others, open discussions with or just feel like they are a part of something since they got it.

We owe it to ourselves, and our industry, to assure our clients that we and the creative that we suggest can be trusted. We aren't going to lead them down a path that they shouldn't go down in their messaging.  Our livelihoods are as much at stake as theirs and if we are allowed to produce the creative we suggest, we may all reap some success. Let's create something.

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