Tuesday, May 09, 2017

if advertising is dead...

The death of this, the death of that, the death of the other and the death of the next thing.

The impending death of something or other is reported every other week.

The death of advertising in particular.

Mea culpa. About 10 years ago I probably was that douche-bag.

I wrote about my folly and subsequent enlightenment a couple of years ago in The Dunning-Kruger Peak of Advertising.

Eventually one gets over one's own bullshit, to a degree.

Or at least goes into recovery.

(I'm taking each day as it comes.)

And with every announcement of the demise of advertising comes the announcement of a new agency model (sic), so it seems that even advertising has abandoned advertising.

As the management consultancies stand in line to buy up agencies all the talk is of doing-things-differently, disruption or redefining-the-industry.

What if the change the industry really needs is to refocus itself towards producing brilliant advertising?

Back in 1979, the emerging young painter Julian Schnabel presented his two breakthrough solo exhibitions at Mary Boone’s gallery in New York.

The shows mainly featured his signature neo-expressionist wax paintings and plate paintings.

Amid the popular and influential artworld narrative of the time included widely read articles with titles like 'The End of Painting' and 'Last Exit: Painting' in respected journals such as Artforum.

It should be noted that those essays (penned by critics Douglas Crimp and Thomas Lawson, respectively) should be approached with some caution unless readers are particularly fluent in academic postmodernist gobbledygook.

The final nail in painting's coffin had barely been bludgeoned into its place when at the exact same time other commentators began to herald Schnabel’s works as 'the RETURN of painting'.

In later years (and looking back), Schnabel - somewhat wryly - reflected:

'I thought that if painting is dead, then it’s a nice time to start painting.'

It strikes me that there is an emerging opportunity for advertising agencies that actually want to make advertising.

It's worth presenting Schnabel's full comment on the 'return to painting', but looked at through an advertising lens.

“I thought that if [advertising] is dead, then it’s a nice time to start [doing advertising].

People have been talking about the death of [advertising] for so many years that most of those people are dead now.”

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