5 October 2014

Why We Should NOT Ignore Advertisements

Nowadays there are so many different types of advertising and we are coming up with just as many ways to ignore each one. A lot of people record TV programmes they want to watch, like The X Factor, and then fast-forward through the ad breaks. In magazines people often skip the first couple of pages because they know they're normally 'just the advertisements'. Billboards and poster boards (especially the small ones on escalator walls in London tube stations) are so commonplace that most of us don't even need to ignore them - their constant visual bombardment creates a blur. But advertising is all about consumerism and obstructs our daily lives, so it's right to ignore it, yes?

No. That's my simple answer but if I stop with just that this will be a very short post. Advertising is important in many different ways and it can add a lot more to your life than you think. You might be thinking, she's just saying this because she wants to be in advertising or maybe she just weird. But hopefully after reading this you will start to consider the uses of advertising and will have a more positive view of the industry.

Firstly, not all advertising aims to drive sales. There are actually lots of different motivations behind different advertisements. For example, public services commonly use advertising to instruct others or create changes in behaviour. In November 2012, Metro Trains in Melbourne, Australia commissioned the campaign 'Dumb Ways to Die' to promote rail safety. They wanted to remind people how important it is to be careful around trains. They were not trying to sell more train tickets. This campaign reports to have contributed to a 30% reduction in "near-miss" accidents which is clearly a positive outcome and a great use of advertising.
Similarly, at the end of 2011 the British Heart Foundation launched a TV advertisement staring Vinnie Jones showing viewers how to perform hands-only CPR. This has saved at least 40 lives and has a really worthwhile purpose. Advertisements like this prove that there is more to advertising than people realise.
However, lot advertising is about sales. But, so what? If it's a great product or service that could improve your life or someone else's, does it really matter if you were persuaded to buy it? Without advertising there is no way you would know about all of your possessions or would have bought them. A lot of advertising can be really awful and annoying. With so many different TV channels and YouTube, advertising space is certainly becoming more widely available. But just because there are are some rubbish ones out there doesn't mean you should ignore the rest. If you went shopping for trainers, there might be loads if styles or colours you don't like, but that doesn't mean you'd stop looking for them and never buy a pair again.

Some advertisements are truly inspiring and amazing. Even if you decide you're not interested in the product or brand, the advertisement can still have an impact on you. Nike's branding is an example of this. Their tagline, 'Just Do It' resonates with many consumers. They believe in seizing the moment, going for something big, doing more than you ever have before. They aim to motivate people and being motivated is always a positive thing. Their ' Just Do It - Possibilities' (2013) advertisement inspires you to take things to the next level. After watching this advertisement you feel positive and empowered. The marketing is unobtrusive which allows you to enjoy the advertisement without feeling like you have to love Nike as a brand.
The 'GoPro HERO4: The Adventure of life in 4K' advertisement takes this idea of ads that inspire to a whole new level. Visually there is so much going on in the 4 minutes of this video (clearly it's meant for YouTube not TV). It is perhaps one of the best advertisements for a product that I have seen in ages. It shows you things you have never seen before, from a behind the scenes angle. The footage is simply breathtaking and gives you so much more than the idea that you should go and buy this camera. This is a fantastic example of why you should not ignore advertising. If you ignored this one, you'd be missing something great. It really give you a chance to be a part of their adventure.
Good advertisements aren't thought-up in a 5 minute brainstorming session. They can take weeks to reach their final concept and this is before they even start to be made. There are people in creative departments worldwide who dedicate substantial amounts of time to making their ideas great. There are loads of really good advertisements out there, it's just that they are swamped by the irritating, unoriginal ones. But the truly creative advertisements deserve to be taken notice of, especially the ones which make you laugh. Evian's 'Baby&Me' (2013) is really cute and funny.
Watching these babies dance like their adult counterpart is a unique idea and the costumes really make this advertisement. If you let it, this advertisement can really brighten your day and change your mood. It's not forcing you to buy Evian water right this second. It just trying to make you happy, so why are you trying so hard to ignore it?

Likewise, O2's 'Be more dog', although is clearly promoting is brand, attempts to make you laugh while doing so. It's inventive and quirky, and like Nike's advertisements, motivates you to try something different. It's especially entertaining if you have a cat because you know it's so unlikely for a them to do these things. 
Basically what I've been trying to say is, not all advertising is bad, annoying, forcing you to buy its product or love its brand. There are different purpose for different advertisements. They can teach you something new, inspire you, show you things you've never seen before and above all they can entertain you. I'm not suggesting we should love all advertisements and never fast-forward through ad breaks ever again. All I'm saying is we should give advertisers a break, because some of their work deserves our attention. 

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