Future of Advertising

What of advertising? What of normalcy?

What of Coronavirus? What of sanity?

What of the future? The simple truth is, we don’t know.

Yet.

Though we can’t predict the future, we can wager a pretty good guess at times as to how we think all will turn out. However, everything is so up in the air right now. No one really knows what’s going to happen with this Coronavirus and the lives it has touched, plus those it hasn’t reached yet. I came upon this publication covering a variety of topics relative to advertising and its perceived future.

Regardless of the impact of COVID-19, vast changes in the way we do things are inevitable. Touching on several areas of marketing and creativity are key players in the global scene sharing their perspective on advertising and the ways we deliver the message to the consumer. Here are a couple of highlights.

Ads, Authenticity and Action

“Marketing is in a perpetual state of disruption . . . but the best way to deal with disruption is to lead it,” so says Marc Pritchard, Chief Brand Officer, Proctor & Gamble. It’s “constructive disruption” he’s looking for: “There have been many disruptions that have destroyed value but the hardest task is to disrupt in a way that creates value for the consumers we serve.”

As it relates to marketing, he adds “(we want to create campaigns) more superior, more useful and more interesting to the point where people actually look forward to seeing ads.” He continues “The way we’re focused on doing that is by merging the ad world with other creative worlds, with music, comedy, sports and entertainment. So, we can continue to convey the superiority of our brands. But done in a way that is really engaging.”

The Campaign for Creativity

Philip Thomas, chairman Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, “believes creativity is essential for business growth, industry and societal change and as a driving force for good.”

“The businesses we work with tell us that embedding creativity requires the right conditions and culture to drive long-term, sustainable growth and impactful brand building.

“For brands and businesses to remain relevant and future-fit, they must continually reinvent.

“In recent years, we’ve seen an emerging trend in creative work driven by purpose. And on Festival stages we have seen brand activism, social justice and diversity lead the discourse. There’s been a recognized shift in the move from purpose and activism to accountability, and of course action.

“With the combination of global reach and power of brands, as well as the expertise of organizations like the UN, and the unbounded creativity of the advertising and marketing community, change for good is truly possible.”

There is no one single “conclusion” or summary statement relegated to the future of advertising. That’s because its state is comprised of various amounts of integral data, cultures, points in time and marketing techniques. It’s complicated and it will change.

The publication Raconteur lays it out nicely and is an interesting read.

Enjoy!

 

Future of Advertising Cover

Colorfully Weird, “Speeding” Image Wins Hyundai Cannes Lion. Should it Have?

Winning an award in the advertising business is a big deal. The really big deals come annually during the sun-baked, beach-worshipping, booze-enhanced party in France known famously as the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. This year was no exception.

Except. One campaign that did win a Lion was done by MullenLowe/SSP3 for Hyundai called Speeding Emojis. As their brief explained, “Every day, more people are involved in car accidents for texting and driving. To make drivers aware of this issue, we decided to use one of the most common elements, when it comes to writing: emojis. But we wanted to use them in a different way. So, we decided to show how they would look at 69, 85, 43 and 76 km/h to prove that texting and driving at the same time just doesn’t make sense.”

Color Swirl Hyundai Ad

Colorful representation of an emoji used while texting when traveling at various high speeds. Note the vertical line of copy at left basically saying “don’t text at xy speed and drive.”

The explanation given in the brief by the agency obviously doesn’t appear in the ad, nor should it. Given this, how is one to know what the image is? While the single line of copy is pretty self-explanatory, the big-ass image of a color swirl is not.

The campaign also uses several different emoji varieties with accompanying swirls of different colors, tying in with that emoji.

Color Swirl Hyundai-green

Another in series of colorful swirls in Hyundai’s Don’t (emoji) and Drive campaign

Given that the image dominates the ad and the tag line is sort of lost, it sort of begs the question: What the Hell does the image represent and/or why isn’t that explained in some fashion? Given an art director’s or designer’s perspective, one might wonder, “How’d they do that?” or “What is that supposed to be?”

Well, this is where it gets even more interesting. According to a post on Twitter, a very “similar looking” image is available from Shutterstock. Now, it’s not unusual to use stock imagery in spec work or presentations but unless an agency is in partnership with a stock footage and imagery company like Shutterstock, this is highly unusual and probably not even kosher. There’s not even a credit given to Shutterstock in the ad nor to the designer who created the original artwork, Rik Oostenbroek.

Color Swirl Hyundai-large

Color swirl image via Shutterstock compared to image used in Hyundai ad campaign.

I’m surprised that, to my knowledge thus far, neither Shutterstock nor Rik Oostenbroek have contacted the agency or Hyundai about about this; of course, this assumes that approval was given beforehand. Even if it was, where’s the credit?

In reporting on the story, Adweek requested a response from MullenLowe who sent the following:

“In regards to this particular campaign, the images were identified as the most fitting way to illustrate the important ‘don’t text and drive’ message for our client. The appropriate rights for the four images were purchased through the correct channels and we acted legally within the terms of the licence. We have been in contact with the artist claiming credit for the work on social media, with a full explanation of the creative process and the surrounding legalities.

“D&AD investigated the entry and deemed it eligible on the evidence provided.”

But . . . where’s the originality? Some folks may not have a problem with using stock imagery in ads while I’m sure some do. Are we seeing some sort of trend in advertising? What’s the proper use of stock photography and when and where should it be used?

“If you literally copy and paste something and stick a line of copy on it, I don’t think it’s worthy of an award,” said Chris Garbutt, global CCO of TBWA\Worldwide and a frequent awards juror. “I don’t think it’s enough to do that anymore.”

I believe this ad and its campaign has a few issues. Feel free to write in the comments section of this blog and let me know your thoughts.

Personally, these images remind me of something caught in a time warp, but absolutely nothing concerning automobiles. The concept of “don’t text and drive” could apply to any cell phone provider’s message, for that matter.

The images do illicit one’s attention. However, their reaction may produce a “WTF?”

Go figure.