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Thanksgiving – Advertising

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

Mad Men

Advertising can be a real pest but with our ability to mute the sound or skip ads altogether when using digital TV, the art form’s financing model is at future risk on choppy seas. It would be sad to see its total demise, however, because there are some very creative minds who work in the field. Shows like Mad Men and The Gruen Transfer indicate there is still a great deal of interest in the dark arts behind advertising, coupled with a grudging admiration for those ads which can make us chuckle or think beyond the short lifespan of an ad.

Advertising as a business and a science quickly gelled in the mind of marketers soon after World War I, where the successful effect of drumming up popular support for US soldiers was noted. When peacetime arrived, advertising companies flooded the newspapers, magazines and the newly arrived medium of radio to help shape popular tastes and consumption. By devising a fantasy world where love, youth, or sophistication were within easy reach if you consumed the advertiser’s products, the distinction between “want” and “need” was soon erased, turning us all into spendthrifts.

David Ogilvy

Advertising’s biggest problem is, as Shakespeare noted, “there is nothing new under the sun.” It is a constant reworking of old scenarios with a fresh twist. In the 1960s British legend David Ogilvie broke the mould with some incredibly innovative print and early TV advertising. The ability to tell a story visually or with a shorthand language in 30 seconds is a rare commodity. To make us laugh on top of this and have the viewer think favourably of the advertised product represents a double pike with a high degree of difficulty.

Products from beverages to food, from cars to beer (again) have long learned that you sell more units with a dollop of laughter than lashings of detail and dry product specifications. Of course there will always be those ads which come right out of the box and are all the more memorable for having no relation to their product whatsoever.

To all those advertising geniuses and creative individuals who have made us laugh throughout the years, we say thank you.

Previous thanksgiving article: Stickability

The season of Lent asks of us for sacrifice and the foregoing of many things, but an attitude of joy and gratitude should not be amongst them.

As an exercise in almsgiving over the next 40 days, this webpage will joyfully give up its praise and thanks for one aspect of life, and not always necessarily a religious one.

At the outset it should be made clear the viewpoints expressed here are a matter of individual opinion. If any one item doesn’t coincide with your own personal tastes then why not seek to better it with some thanksgiving of your own rather than a critique? You are always welcome to do so at the Archdiocesan website feedback mechanism.

So we invite you to come, walk with us awhile, and be thankful as we journey together to Calvary and beyond to Easter.

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No commercial activity or financial gain has been generated by the content on this webpage.

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