Mind On Design


Personal blog about design, branding, whiskey & lifestyle. Full Windsor's comic strip. An adventerous, sarcastic, & humorous views of everyday life of Antoine Young.

Taboos: The Bemused evolution of Advertising

Todays’ brands are being challenged; not only for their perception but also in the manner they’re presented as well.  Brands; the way they are portrayed, who they target and how they represent that demographic is usually steered toward the perceived “social norm”The way they are approached, and who they represent, are directed towards societal norms.

For example, take any erectile dysfunction disorder advertisement. Have you ever noticed that the couples in these commercials always have a wedding ring on their fingers? Are we supposed to connect that they are married to each other and, is this is that truly realistic? Is it said that only men, who are married, suffer from this disorder? When in fact, in the 3 million cases per year, a majority are men over 60 regardless of marital status. So ads should focus on the demographics of age rather than that of marital status. Another category of ads is liquor. I’m a whiskey advocate but when it comes to whiskey commercials most lack diversity. It comes down to the last of the good old boys, the celebrity names with the charismatic faces. A celebrity I am not. There's more to minority cultures than that. Many minority cultures are shown as "connoisseurs" of more upscale brands that aren't mentioned in music, pushed in popular television shows and movies. Some premium brands that only target a few stereotypes, knowing, in reality, one can find that brand being poured heavily more so at bars or in homes that reside in popular metropolitan areas rather than at private upscale social clubs.

Put a ring on it? No thanks. I’m good.

Single and divorced people are doing things independently at a high pace rate. The reality, globally, things are trying to remain the same yet there has been a gradual yet liberating turn. Individuals are getting mortgages and loans more than couples. They might not be walking in to talk to their financial advisors with a farm animal on a leash, yet chances are high they will be visually displaying a tattoo or piercing. Settling with adoption has increased as a new form of single parenting. People entering relationships, that don't carry all the responsibility of a traditional commitment one. Interests are growing in diversity through online social groups free are escalating far more than a funded private social club. Whoever that individual is, one thing stays the same. They are a consumer and diversity in advertisement needs to reflect that.

You’re an adult so understand this disclaimer.

If pornography is a trillion dollar industry why aren’t corporations, pharmaceuticals, or cosmetics putting their advertising in front of those viewers? It’s a trillion dollar industry for a reason. Are we concerned about an image? So, let me get this straight. You want to advertise about a drug that will get you out of depression, yet the voice over in a low monotone voice explains the side effects are said to possibly cause diarrhea, stomach ache, rash, or lightheadedness and you should not operate heavy machinery or consume dairy products when using this drug? You'll be happy? So, how in the world are those side effects not going to make me even more depressed?

 Remember the Enzyte commercials, the gentleman who couldn't stop smiling? I used to find those commercials hilarious. The pharmaceutical companies did so well that their advertising ended up endorsing a team in a popular racing circuit. The average person doesn’t know about what happened to the company but many remember the hilarious commercials. Yet still the twist, he was married and his wife was quite happy too. To this very day, I see that Joker smile on his face. They were able to find an angle that was effective. Their commercials piqued their target audience not only with humor but also with something eye catching. So okay that was a decade ago. How can that be effective today? When people sneak to look at a mature audience only site wouldn’t it be hilarious to see the Enzyte guy popping up as an ad flashing that scary smile and waving at you? Saying, "Hey, I know what you’re doing. I see you sneaking. Why are you sneaking, do you need help to finish off the job? Click here for a randomly, yet controlled, generated discount code next time you shop at this e-commerce site. Protecting the discretion of the consumer visiting that website and not cutting into e-commerce's profits as if it's a discount code to the masses. If the discount is major enough for their attention you just made a sale.

 Creating something from nothing is no longer a myth.

More and more marketers are having creative challenges. Now agencies are also fighting people making their own commercials, which are an effective and low budget. Cutting costs drastically for production with just a smartphone. For example, an American singer ventured as an entrepreneur into traditional desserts. The multinational retail corporation, nor singer, I believe, put one penny into advertising. Formatting a simple smart design. Creating a simple strategy. A social media star posted a viral comical review that made it sell out in stores in a matter of days. Making the selling idea more persuasive using something original, compelling, and enjoyable. Entertainers are now following suit utilizing social media and marketing to fans and followers everywhere for their marketing. Same taboo, not following the rules on how going about marketing a product. Turning something free into millions of dollars, which entails leads to another contradiction. Can you create something out of nothing? In today’s world, you can. It’s become simpler and effective in grabbing the consumer’s interests.

“Oh! What a tangled world wide web we weave.”

The Lewis and Clarke expedition are not over when it comes to discovering new grounds and it’s not necessarily always a fresh direction. It can be a direction that has been overlooked or taboo, and companies worry about the bad taste it leaves in the consumer’s mouth. In denial of how the world supposes to be projected with the white picket fence defining the American dream. They are people with weird yet safe fetishes. Tattooed soccer dads gathering together at garden expos and pill popping executive moms at strip clubs entertaining clients, are still coming together as a family to have dinner every Sunday. Dare I say the way a cosmetic or tampon commercials are being seen. We’re already experiencing ways male birth control commercials are being brought into the television mainstream. We see interracial and same-sex marriage being slowly formulated to be a normal background in an advertisement. Why can’t it happen the same way in other areas of entertainment? If corporate can adapt to Snapchat surely it can adapt to an adult only website. Yes, this is not for every consumer product. I think it would be an awkward moment to see a constipation ad when someone uses the words 'backdoor fun' in a keyword search. Whatever generates an online visitor you have 7 seconds of their attention and if successful 23 seconds or less to make a sale.

Understanding the deliverables to create a new way of communication to fulfill the client's needs. Ads are now being more prominent in mobile apps than side ads on websites. The challenge is making the ad multitask just as much as consumers on the go with their smart watches. At the same time being sensitive enough that it doesn’t become annoying. I find myself chatting with designers and production on brainstorming the approach of such taboos has brought interesting conversations broadening the horizons in creative directing. I say, “If you can’t make a sale, make them your salesman.” We want to conjure the consumer with emotion and energy. Create an advertisement that morphs into a quick-witted conversation piece at the next happy hour or transit ride home. 

Antoine Young

Antoine YoungComment