I remember looking forward to advertisements. In magazines such as the late 80’s and early 90’s Reader’s Digests, especially, and in newspapers and even on television. They were appealing for their images and clever, or sometimes, simple and direct use of words. There weren’t many twists in the narrative, and there weren’t many of these ads popping out at you from everywhere. There was also something about these advertisements that wasn’t intrusive. Not just that they were fewer, but also they had this quality to them: they weren’t trying too hard. They left you enough space to think about them.
Today, I run from advertisements. They aren’t too good and there are just so many of them to judge that anyway. They are trying too hard all the time. Advertisements are seen and heard tripping over themselves and into every space of yours imaginable: hoarding up your view of the roadside sky, crashing into the middle of your reading experiences and viewing experiences, and texting themselves unsolicited into your phones.
And now, people are being paid to watch advertisements. I am afraid of a future where they’ll pay us to advertise inside our minds, between thoughts, on waking up, before we sleep. They might even pay us to store ads in our genes so that our children will be born loving their brand. Eventually, they don’t want to sell us any product, it seems to me. They want their names on our hearts. They want our love in a perverse way.
I’ve been clicking pictures of advertising in decay. There is especially something fascinating about large, rotting billboards. Like the masts of large sail-ships laid waste. All that money-blowing aggression, perfection and timing and location gone to nothing, even if temporarily. See more of them here at Love Letters From Ad Men.