Thursday, 8 December 2005

It's only an ad...

It's fashionable to diss advertising - and god knows it's usually an easy target.

But words and phrases first seen in ads have become part of our culture - many people I know (no snide remarks about my choice of friends, now) remember more advertising headlines than they do lines from poems, essays or stories. The fact is that it's a business that has attracted some of the best writers and designers around. Some, yes, for the money, but most, and I mean this, do it for the challenge, for the every-day-is-different feeling, for the spirit of fun that pervades most creative departments.

Ten years in the agency world gave me valuable lessons in craft, economy, persuasiveness, impact, and much else, including a coffee habit. I did get disenchanted with some aspects of the business, it's true, but I mostly, it was a great ride. I moved on, yes, but not because I had fallen out of love with the business, but because there were other things I wanted to do. I think of advertising as fondly as one thinks of a first girlfriend. With a certain amount of tenderness, of nostalgia, with the bad bits fading away.

What brought this on? Well, someone mailed me one of my favourite bits of advertising copy. It's for Apple, a company I've been inordinately fond of, ever since I first got onto a computer more than fifteen years ago, to my good fortune, a Macintosh. And that has been a parallel love affair, though, arguably, one which has been even more one-sided, because in the years since then. I have been forced to spend more time than I want to on Windoze stuff. Still, Apple is who you have to blame for being made to read this.

Anyway, this wasn't the campaign that launched the company (that's the legendary "1984"), but most copywriters know it, most would have been quite happy to have it in their portfolios. I know I would!
Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward. Maybe they have to be crazy. How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people. While some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Tell me, then, are there any ads that have stayed with you long after you first saw them? Maybe even after the products they sold went off the shelves?

4 comments:

Jabberwock said...

I diss advertising all the time - but what you say about words and phrases becoming part of our consciousness is certainly true. Images too, for that matter - I've been having this recurrent dream about Rahul Dravid going out to bat wearing only a condom.

(Damn, did I say that out loud?)

Marginalien said...

What?! Is there actually an advertisement like that? Or did you only dream of it, J? Most impressed if you did ...

Jabberwock said...

Manjula: that was my over-fertile mind toying with the possibilities of the ad where Dravid solemnly talks about protective cricket gear and then makes a vague analogy about how it must be so in life as well - meaning protected sex. And then he struts off to bat - fully clad, needless to say.

zigzackly said...

For a moment there, Jai, I was wondering whether I should be going back to watching TV.