Advertising is perhaps one of the most rollercoaster industries around. When things are going well in the economy, we do well. When things stagnate, we lose work. When markets crash, or clients pull their money. When our clients have a breakthrough product or service, we get to come along for the ride.
Yes, advertising has its downs, and ups. And as we head into Thanksgiving here in America, it's time to celebrate those ups. With 2013 just around the corner, and no clues right now as to whether we'll be riding into the sunset over a financial cliff, we can use this time to cheer those little wonders we all still enjoy.
1: Copywriters, Rejoice. Copy Isn't Dead Yet. But Grammar Still Is!
Copywriters went through something of an identity crisis a decade ago. The ads in vogue were all the same - visual puns with a logo in the corner. No headlines, no copy, no artful copy. But those days have passed. Copy is once again being used, albeit in slightly different ways than before. Now, we have the digital frontier to explore. But headlines and copy are making a solid comeback. And grammar, that's still about as useful in copy as hot air balloons are beneath the ocean. One-word sentences? Yes. Ending in a preposition? Right on.
2: Advertising Is Expanding Into a Plethora Of New Media
Back in the day, there were specific (and limited) places we could advertise. We had billboards, print ads, radio, television, cinema, plus direct mail, point of sale, and a few others. It was a couple of handfuls, at most.
These days, we are spoiled for choice. Not only can we advertise on any number of different electronic devices, we also have guerrilla opportunities, unique sponsorships and clients bending over backwards to be seen in different places. The world may have gotten smaller, but for advertisers, it has become a vast blank canvas.
3: We Get Paid Handsomely To Put Our Feet Up and Think
Think about that one for a second. Even when we're bitching about a crappy client, a rotten brief or a shameful product, we are not breaking our backs doing heavy labor for minimum wage. We're not standing for hours scanning stuff in a checkout. We're not going door-to-door selling insurance. We sit in air-conditioned spaces, usually pretty cool ones, with a pad, a marker, a computer and a hot cup of joe, and we sketch ideas that become ads. That's still a fine way to make a living.
4: Advertising Has The Ability To Affect Real Change
Not just turning people from one brand of soda to the other. That's all well and good, but sometimes we really get to change beliefs. Look at the work Droga did on the Obama 2008 election campaign. His agency, with the help of Sarah Silverman, helped to win the election for Obama. We can also bring attention to poverty, child abuse, famine, and endless other worthy causes. We can legalize marijuana, we can ban firearms, or the other way around. We have the ability to plant seeds that grow. And that is both powerful and humbling at the same time.
5: Our Best Work Becomes Part Of Pop Culture
There are some ads out there that are as well known as movies, songs or books. The Superbowl ads, the best ones, get talked about for years after they air. The famous 1984 spot for Apple by Chiat\Day and Sir Ridley Scott still resonates. People remember the Budweiser frogs, and the "Where's The Beef?" old ladies. Say "Got Milk" to anyone and it will conjure a certain celebrity with a milk mustache. Our place in the history books can be written, if we have the opportunities and the nerve.
Have a very happy Thanksgiving.