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As a marketing strategist who leads creative productions of all kinds, I greatly respect the process and the artists involved in writing, conceptualizing, filming, editing, etc. Commercials, magazines, billboards, articles, blog posts, company brochures, and even direct mail (yes, even that) have often sparked inspiration for one of my own projects.
The writer and filmmaker in me pays particular attention to commercials because, as mini stories, I like to see how the storytelling is (or in some cases, isn’t) accomplished in 30-60 seconds. Until this year, I intentionally watched commercials instead of fast-forwarding through them.
One of the things I tell clients ad nauseam is this: Consider your audience, and make sure your message is on point for that audience.
Most who take that advice to heart are businesses that have a real stake in and are part of the community/audience they’re trying to reach. Until recently, I would say that 80% of our clients were very intentional with their messaging and branding, making sure it resonated with the intended audience. However, I have seen a shift in the last few years where even the community-focused businesses we work with are more focused on exhibiting that “sense of social virtue” and checking off all the boxes.
Is the commercial/ad/brochure, etc. appropriately diverse? √
Did we remove any overt or even mere suggestion of a religious holiday? √
Have we built in the right level of social awareness and pressure? √
This year I’ve found myself fast forwarding or muting the commercials. They’re just not as creative as they used to be and, quite frankly, they’re all just trying to out-do each other on their level of wokeness.
The big a-ha for me has been the Covid-themed commercials that have been produced this year. Advertisers are selling us acceptance of what our pandemic responses are doing to this country and the world. See for yourself:
May 20, 2020: The 8 Best Ads From the Coronavirus Lockdown, So Far
From Ads of the World: COVID-19 Ads
This compilation film by YouTuber Sean Haney puts all the COVID-19 cliches into one big supercut:
I long for the day when I can once again “enjoy” watching commercials without groaning and rolling my eyes.Published in