Don’t worry, be creative

by Eszter Hargittai on April 15, 2005

Before I link to yet another advertisement for your amusement, I thought it was worth noting the interesting twist in some of us actually seeking out and making conscious decisions to view ads. Aren’t consumers supposed to hate advertisements? Isn’t the great fear about TiVo and similar devices that audiences skip over all the ads? That may be the case if the commercials are horrible, which many of them are. But the fact that people voluntarily visit sites that feature ads suggests that there is room for advertisements in our world. They just need to be good enough to capture our attention. Remember the Honda commercial called Cog? Talk about creative. I personally liked the Get Perpendicular Hitachi flash movie to which I posted a link yesterday (although that may be a bit too geeky for some). The Ad Forum hosts thousands of ads from across the world (although only a small fraction seem to be freely accessible). Again, some of them are creative enough that people will voluntarily go to the site to check them out. Here are some recent popular ones: Frogger and The Banana. So dear advertisers, instead of getting upset about new technologies how about getting creative?

I’ll take this opportunity to give a shout-out to David Krewinghaus to whom we are grateful for our cool header banner. Some of his work exemplifies well what I am talking about above.

UPDATE: I had also meant to post a link to the video depicting the shot made by Tiger Woods the other day. If you haven’t seen it yet, you’ll understand the connection to this post once you view it.



des von bladet 04.15.05 at 7:21 am

As a datapoint, as soon as I realised the first link was an ad, I stopped watching it and wondered what on earth the world had come to.


coturnix 04.15.05 at 7:33 am

I do not notice ads in newspapapers and magazines. I tune out when the commercials come on the radio (or automatically change stations). I barely watch any TV and do not notice any ads. I do not click on ads online… I have never ever bought anything because I have heard about it in an ad.

On the other hand, I know a couple of people who design ads. They love their annual meetings when they show off their most creative stuff, but mostly they are forced by their employers to make bland ads as they are afraid to go too creative (market-untested). They also like to talk about creative yet impossible ideas for ads. I remember one: “If they used OUR nails, nobody would have been able to take Jesus off the cross”.


Jason Kuznicki 04.15.05 at 8:11 am

“I have never ever bought anything because I have heard about it in an ad.”

I hate to say it, but I don’t believe this for a moment. Unless you’re a cloistered monk, in which case I apologize.


coturnix 04.15.05 at 8:47 am

I am a cloistered monk.


neil 04.15.05 at 9:05 am

Des von Bladet: If you couldn’t figure out it was an ad from the link reading ‘Honda commercial’ then I can understand why you are particularly averse to advertising…

Jason Kuznicki: You forgot the possibility that coturnix is deaf. Or, more likely, since s/he doesn’t pay attention to the ads they filter directly through to the subconscious where they can motivate purchasing decisions in secret…


des von bladet 04.15.05 at 9:24 am

Neil: My mistake: it was the second link. But in _yesterday’s_ post. I didn’t follow any of the links in this post, of course.

Since I don’t have a TV, don’t listen to commercial radio and generally read foreign magazines, many of the adverts I see are for products no one will actually sell me. (Billboards thoughtfully confine themselves to things I’m not remotely in the demographic for.)

I don’t claim to be wildly averse, though.


Jason Kuznicki 04.15.05 at 9:27 am

Neil: Let’s not forget the possibility that it flatters certain political beliefs to trash all advertising, whether or not ads are ever useful to the speaker.


youspeakmylanguage 04.15.05 at 9:40 am

Greatest. Commercial. Ever.

Not that I would actually buy anything made by Sweatshop king Nike, but it is a great ad nontheless.


eszter 04.15.05 at 10:05 am

Thanks, Jason. The problem is, if these people are so averse that they won’t even spend thirty seconds on an ad that comes recommended then they’ll never find out that they might actually be missing something.

For those who can handle more, here are a few presented in puzzle form for additional amusement. (Flash required.) #1 is less exciting (the picture will be obvious right away), but #2 and #3 are worth solving.


Uncle Kvetch 04.15.05 at 2:44 pm

the interesting twist in some of us actually seeking out and making conscious decisions to view ads

It is very interesting, and frankly I hadn’t really thought it through until you pointed it out. We have a TiVO-like DVR (courtesy of our cable TV company), and zapping through commercials has become second nature. If we want to watch a show in real time, we wait 15-20 minutes after its start time so that we don’t have to sit through the ads.

And yet…I remember that when I lived in France, one of my favorite TV shows was something called “Culture Pub,” a weekly magazine-style show exclusively about TV advertising. The best TV ads, when they’re compiled in this way, can be hugely entertaining. I guess it’s just that the chaff-to-wheat ratio is so overwhelming that we don’t even think of watching commercials, just in case a good/funny one pops up.

(It’s also worth pointing out that “Culture Pub” was especially fun for me as a Yank, since most of the ads shown were European–and thus consistently “edgier” than what can be shown here.)

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