Is advertising ready for the coming age?

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

black people chess humor knives handguns racism ku klux klan 1920x1200 wallpaper_www.knowledgehi.com_71

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



5 thoughts on “Is advertising ready for the coming age?

  1. Srini,

    The world is not that dark. Really. There is a lot of good work happening. Unfortunately it does not get talked about.

    What is changing is the type of communication. For centuries it has been one way. Books, TV, Film. The people who sent it out were few. Information was controlled by a few. Both those are very important criteria. And advertising has evolved in this communication era.

    what is happening now is that communication is a lot more two way, across lots of people and very fast. AND the message is not controlled by few it is generated by many.

    Hence the way advertising communicates with audiences needs to be very very different.

    I heard a good story the other day. Einstein gave his class a test. His fellow professor saw the test in the hands of Einstein and said “my dear fellow but you gave the exact same test to the same class last year. Everybody will ace the test” Einstein looked at him and smiled. “the questions are the same but the answers are different this time.”


    1. It’s less about advertising actually. It’s more about even the product and service. Designing solutions and doing business in a growing economy might be very different from doing business in a more sombre mood… My contention is that IF darker times are ahead of us, are we prepared? The case for darkness in many ways stems from the way exponential growth in innovation is going to change our lives… Maybe it would ultimately result in a positive change but the coming years could be a bit choppy too… Maybe its the same question and different answers as you say

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