The Dumb & Dumbering Down of Advertising «

The Dumb & Dumbering Down of Advertising

So, I saw on AdRants today that YouTube has released a billboard hailing the 100+ million (yes, million) views that Rebecca Black’s Friday video received on their site. Like that’s worth celebrating? (Rhetorical question, please don’t answer).

And that connected sharply in my head with this recent campaign that asks “What Happened to Ideas?” highlighted yesterday on one of my must-read blogs, The Denver Egotist.

Are we radically approaching the future that Mike Judge’s Idiocracy hilariously warned us about? A homogenized, mentally challenged society that has the collective IQ of a house plant; and a stupid house plant at that.

Rebecca Black is a 13-year old girl with a limited amount of talent, starring in a video with inane lyrics and sub-par production values. It not only generated a vast amount of advertising revenue (which Black donated to charity by the way, a classy move on her part) but it’s now featured as a crowning success by YouTube. Which, it is. Sigh.

As Bill Hicks once quipped about Debbie Gibson, “We have on our fingertips the greatest minds of all time, the knowledge and history of the greatest thinkers of ALL F*CKING TIME, but no, what’s that little white girl sayin’?”

And at the same time, advertising is being clouded by ideas that aren’t really ideas. As the ads for The Bessies illustrate, it’s about Tweeting, Facebook, Crowdsourcing and “Movements.” Ideas, meh, they’re secondary.

It’s a shame. Ironically, Banksy also wrote recently that the thing he hates most about advertising is that it “attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.”

As flattering as that is to the industry, I don’t think Banksy has anything to worry about right now. We’re smarter than this aren’t we? I’ve seen some great creative work over the last decade, but the gaps between truly outstanding pieces of work seem to be getter bigger and bigger all the time.


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