Saturday, March 21, 2020

This has been the winter of our advertising discontent.

Artwork by Tarek Chemaly from the series Abou Fouad 3 bi 1.
How do you know advertising is not going well? When there is an occasion and not everyone jumps on the bandwagon of stupidity. As soon as advertising started to meagerly get back on track (in the shyest most vulnerable way) bam! On comes Coronavirus and its lockdown. Lebanon celebrates mother's day today and it has been eerily quiet on the advertising land. Usually such celebrations illicit a tonne of corny ads, but today "all is calm on the western front" as they say. Normally, I should be throwing a fit as this is the bread and butter of my blog. Paradoxically, am cheering. I truly think we are looking at this from the wrong end, much like Venice (the city in Italy). Well, Venice wanted to curb down tourism for a long time, and now that the city is suffering the lack of tourists they are up in arms (I will go down in history as the only human who went to Venice by mistake! A long story for another time). Same with advertising, too many people in Lebanon were complaining about the ad scene (too many useless ads, people hanging ads like the city was a jungle) - then came the lack ads.
Here's a word for you: Strategy.
In the hassle of producing social media friendly ads for every occasion, brands forgot to look within themselves for what truly makes them what they are and how they should stick to a central message which is their ultimate soul and how they should communicate it to the public. Now is the time to go back there people. Let ad agencies talk to their clients while practicing social distancing a d really think: Aside the corny ads for every occasion, who am I as a brand, and how can I as as an ad agency help you portray that?
This has been the winter of our advertising discontent. But today spring has sprung, it is Mother's Day (in Lebanon and several other countries) and I extend my wishes to all mothers, advertising will survive this for sure. In what shape and if "older and wiser" remains to be seen.