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Advertising Isn't Dead, but Nostalgic Creatives Are Killing It

3 min read

I'm a Creative Director, working in the advertising and design industries for over 15 years.
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Every few years, someone writes an article about how “advertising is dying” in some form or another. It's always the same story with a new label: “print is dying," "radio is dying," "TV is dying," etc.

Honestly, advertising has been around since the town crier stood in the middle of the square. Sure, now the crier spins a sign on the street corner, dressed in a Statue of Liberty costume, telling you exactly where to get your taxes done…but he’s still there.

The reality is, the ad industry isn't going anywhere. As long as things are available to buy, people need to market them. However, the way it works changes.

But creatives are giving advertising the hug of death.

We may think that we're advertising's gladiators. But even though advertising isn't dead, stubborn creatives are killing it.



Creatives Aren't Adapting

Simply put, creatives are holding so tightly onto our own flavor of advertising, that we claim any other direction is inferior. And that's what's killing the industry.

Come on, creatives, we're supposed to be innovators. But every day, I read someone talking about how great the previous generation of creative was, or how things like data, mobile, or social are destroying creative.

What ever happened to loving ideas, not executions?

Do we really expect that ads can only exist in magazines, on radio, and on TV?

When we're too stubborn about how we execute our ideas, we put our work at risk. It's our choice to either work with the audience, or lose the industry.

Data Isn't The Enemy

Nowadays, I hear more and more that data is killing creative. I just don't understand that at all…

Data is simply human behavior. Creatives ideate around human behavior. What we do, what we feel, what we love. Those are what we care about.

But creatives see numbers and freak out. We want to trust our gut. We don't want to feel like that little nugget of intuition can be measured.

The way I see it, the more tools we can use to create, the better our ideas will be.



Mediums Aren't Ideas

Ideas are essential. But to have a good ad, you need three things:

  • Idea
  • Execution
  • Attention

The medium is part of the execution and the attention. If the audience's attention is on Facebook, go there. If it's in a magazine, go there. If it's on TV...well, you get the idea.

I'm not saying digital or social is the panacea for advertising. Every medium has its benefits, from TV to Twitter. So, respect the medium, and understand how it's different. Just because it's a :06 video doesn't mean it's 1/5 the value of a :30 spot. Tell the story in a way the medium dictates it.

Don't Let Advertising Die

You don't have to believe me. But look around you: does it look like advertising is the same as it was five years ago? Ten? Twenty?

Creatives, stop being stubborn. Learn to adapt. It's the only way we'll be able to keep doing what we love: bringing amazing ideas to life.

Thanks for reading!

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