There is a crisis in advertising. And it’s not about the rise of new media and all that nonsense. The crisis in advertising is a creative crisis. And the crisis is not about what agencies need to do or not do. It is about how brands and organisations understand people and how they choose to address and engage with them.
Advertising as we know it now really took wings in the mid-50s and sort of mirrored the growth of the baby-boomer generation. The tone and manner of advertising in general has been cheerful, positive and often funny. Happiness and a good life was the proffered end goal and entertainment was the route.
Advertising was probably not that relevant in the 50 odd years before the wars. That’s when monarchies were toppled, empires were pushed back. It was possibly, even less relevant during the industrial revolution. In times of great technological advancement, when traditional societies and industries were destroyed to create a new order, there are hardly any evidences of advertising.
As we enter anew era of uncertainty and unrest and upheavals, new technologies will change societies in ways as yet unimagined. Everyone is going to get affected in some form or the other. Every social norm that we had taken for granted will be up for re-evaluation and change.
Music has changed to become more distorted and darker
Fiction and entertainment have become more gritty and violent in every way
Politics has changed to become more angry and about survival than utopia
Religions have never really moved away from violence and subversion
Even humour has turned darker
Is advertising ready for the future?
The only thing worse than cracking poor jokes at a troubled man is to promise him a land he’ll never see
Maybe it’s time we all sat down and contemplated about communication in an age of despair