Consumerism and the Role of Advertising: Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg?
Dear Future Advertising Executives,
Despite what our recently viewed documentaries have suggested, society in fact, is what shapes this world that we find ourselves in, not the media. I realize this is cutting it close to the chicken and the egg argument, but as advertisers we play to the consumer, not the other way around. We sit down for long nights eating take out Chinese, racking our brains in search of how to reach our target audience. How to compel them, inspire them, reach out to them and how to inform them. We should set out to create the most beautiful, funny, compelling, or intelligent ads that we can, that will do those things with flawless elegance. We do this because it has been proven time and time again that advertising promotes social change, is a form of free speech, as well as a supporting pillar of our economy.
We have a unique opportunity as advertisers to be a guiding light to society. Advertising as a form of free speech, for example, is a beacon in other countries who don’t have freedom of speech as we do. In the US, it serves as a source of information, showing people options, advantages and disadvantages. As well as showing people ways of life that are different than their own, and even connecting these people with vast differences to each other.
Advertising supports economic growth by creating brand and company competitiveness. It creates a far more diverse spectrum of products and brands for consumers to choose from. Allowing them to find something that suits their personal identity, lifestyles, beliefs, or even their pocketbooks. We were shown in Big Pharma that the advertising in the pharmaceutical industry has played a part in creating more drug options. Without this, we wouldn’t have generic brands that fit our budgets or variations in name brands that fit our unique bodies. I realize at this point, you are thinking that I must have missed the whole point of that film. Fret not, I got the drift. I just choose to be a critical thinker, to realize that there is more than one side to each story, and I know that an industry must learn to adapt and thrive. It is not the industry that is at fault, it is the consumer. We are all responsible for our own actions and decision making.
The most important role of advertising to me though, is the effect it has for social change. Over the summer of 2012 mainstream brands and companies started a movement of integrating lesbian and gay story lines into their commercials and advertising campaigns. This started a nationwide conversation. More and more states were pushed by consumers to start articulating LGBT rights within their legislation. This then lead to amendments, changes, and more importantly put a national light on the movement for equality. Creating more visibility in media for lesbian and gay individuals was a small push for big change. It took only a few ads to change hundreds and thousands of lives and to get an entire nation talking.
This doesn’t only apply to LGBT rights. Advertising has had it’s hand in historical timeline since the beginning. It is the reason I am so passionate about adverting. We get to shape our culture, to write our history through the art of advertising, and to be able to look back and know that we were on the right side of history.
Bud Light had the best Super Bowl advertising campaign. According to Superbowl demographics and research, the number one most anticipated brand of the Super Bowl is Anheuser-Busch, including the Bud Light and Budweiser product lines. 81% of Males in the U.S. planned to watch the Super Bowl, 75% of people 18-34 years of age and 77% of people making around $50,000 a year. Bud Light had their ultimate demographic waiting, and watching the Super Bowl to see their commercials. Their slogan, “It’s only weird if it doesn’t work,” was perfectly executed in more than one ad, all while incorporating this year’s Super Bowl host, New Orleans and its rich history and culture. Many sports fans are superstitious, and Bud Light did a fantastic job of bringing all of these details together for one all around killer advertising campaign.
Slogans and jingles have been used since the earliest forms of advertising and are often the only ways of recalling companies campaigns or any history of their advertising at all. Records of advertising campaigns were hardly kept and, due to the overflow of noise and ads of our time, it is still…