The type of ads I'm talking about are what I refer to as "Random advertisement". You have seen them, I'm talking about the Old Spice or Dairy Queen commercials that look like they where designed by a team of six year old boys with A.D.D on a steady diet of Pixie Styx and crack cocaine. This is scary because that means that after spending millions on research, the marketing departments concluded this was the type of ad campaign that was going to get the job done. Commercials that are saturated with as much random imagery and nonsensical crap as they can fit and give you absolutely no information about the product they are trying to sell.
This one is about car insurance!
So I started wondering what exactly had led the intellects in advertisement to go this route. At first I thought it had to do specifically with the positive reaction caused when we see something comical and unexpected. You want whatever product you are selling to be associated with good feelings, and funny happens to be one of those good feelings I'm talking about, so it would only make sense to fill your ad with lots of unexpected hilarious crap. I know I'm guilty of using this technique, and reality is we have been doing since the beginning of time! Research shows that in ancient Egypt the dudes that painted the inside of the pyramids thought it would be hilarious to give people animal heads just for kicks. (That will be a fact once Wikipedia lifts the ban on my i.p. address for that article I wrote about myself being a Dinosaur Samurai Zombie-hunter!)
THE FACT A GOOGLE SEARCH FOR WHAT I JUST WROTE HAD ACTUAL RESULTS RESTORES MY FAITH IN HUMANITY
(All credit and mad respect yo, to TomBerryArtist)
Reality is however, that the reason for random shit commercials is very simple. The advertising industry is incapable of packaging the very complex concept of individuality.
Being an individual is difficult. From the moment we are cognitive we get two conflicting statements that warp our perception. "We are all the same" and "You are very special". As if that's not enough to fok with your noggin, then you have to grow up in a world where you have to find a balance between expressing yourself and fitting in with the crowd. Throughout our entire life there's a major struggle to find our place in the universe. This creates a very ironic phenomenon, in order to give worth to that which makes us different from everyone else, we have to create groups with people that are just like us and will accept us. Humans have a need to belong so we tend to group together with similar people and reject that which we don't agree with. Creating these cliques and giving them exclusivity allows us to feel like we are being original but without having to be a complete outcast. This model worked because the lack of access to information made the world a scary place. You could stand out but not too much. The last thing a group of uninformed people needed was some random asshole being all cocky trying to show how different he or she was from the rest of us!
BEING DIFFERENT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A LITTLE DIFFICULT
So we crave innovation and it has actually become a struggle to find what it is that makes us different from the millions out there! It happened to me. One of my attempts to establish my very own individuality was changing the way I spell the word "fuck" to "fok". "Foking genius" I thought. Not only could I get past the filters on my phone and certain webpages that don't allow expletives, but I had just come up with a way to spell the word just how my accent makes it sound. This would undeniably be my footprint in the universe, a way to let it know "I AM FOKEN ANDY, UNIVERSE, FOK YOU AS I SHALL NOT FOKING CONFORM! Imagine my rage when two weeks later my call to individuality was being casually thrown around on facebook and my utter disappointment when the week after I found out "Fok" was the original spelling for "fuck" and it dates back to England around 1066.
IT'S HARD TO BE ORIGINAL
So how does this tie in with those random ads I was talking about? Well, the advertisement industry is is based on creativity which is a rare trait, and it has to appeal to an audience that is going to purchase products.That audience is us, and marketers have noticed that we are in a quest to stand out. They are capitalizing on our insecurities by trying to package and sell us that individuality we desperately seek but because it's hard to come up with a new concept and expect everyone to embrace it they take a safe approach. They produce ads that copy the way a teenager tries to establish her or himself in the world. With relatively safe random nonsensical acts of stupidity and rebellion. The ads are the equivalent of my 14 year old self purposely wearing my shoes untied to prove how different I was. That is the reason why a deodorant commercial has a black guy screaming at me while pulling puppies out of a guitar and a foken ice cream commercial features rainbows on fire. Sure I haven't seen it before, and sure it's funny, but it's not designed to sell us the product based on how well it performs but rather on the fact that we will confuse randomness with innovation and that appeals to the part of us that wants to be different without endangering our status in society. We don't care what the product is. We simply identify with all the random imagery and think to ourselves "Hey, this is pretty crazy stuff but I can identify as I too am random and original"
Perfect example is actually my favorite commercial right now. It's the Heineken one where the guy goes to the party and it's cooler and better at everything than everyone else but everyone loves and respects him and the band plays an awesome song! That commercial touched me. That dude was foken awesome, he stood apart amongst the crowd yet was embraced by all. Hell, I went right out and bought myself a Heineken expecting it to up my individuality and coolness quotient at least 10 points, but when I took that first sip I realized that I hate that beer because it tastes like peanutty piss water and that if I met a cocky prick like that in real life I would probably hate him just as much.
I WISH THEY SPENT THIS MUCH ENERGY INTO MAKING BETTER BEER
So in the end I realized that this "innovative" school of thought in advertisement is just a cheap marketing ploy. And it's a really bad one at that. Because the nature of advertisement is to make as many people as possible buy the same exact thing it's almost ridiculous to appeal to a persons need for individualism, so when they figured out they couldn't just outright say "buy this and you will be different" they simply chose to associate the product to crazy cool randomness to appeal to our need to be spontaneous and it totally worked. The only good thing is that because it actually did work, then it will undoubtedly go trough the process that all innovation goes trough once it finds acceptance. It will become mainstream which leads to it being bottled and marketed to the point of saturation at which time it is deemed uncool and conformist then it will be forgotten!
And that's just it, our individuality is a very personal thing. I had to accept that "foken" was not my creation and will never be used exclusively by me and that's fine, because one word or one product or one action is not what makes me who I am, but rather my understanding of who I was in the past, my acceptance of myself today and my motivation to always strive for self improvement in the future.
Marketers do not understand that individuality is not based on how different we are from the rest of the world or how exclusive the groups we belong to are and most definitely not on how much crazy shit we can mix together. Unfortunately that brings me to my final point. You might be wondering why I said that the world is doomed because of all this? Well a certain person realized that being random and ridiculous was an untapped gold mine. That she could capitalize by becoming the spoke person for stupid. Ask yourself who the main source of crazy today is? Who keeps making the news with all that unexpected crap and has millions of followers ready to do her bidding? Who is hailed as the queen of random and looked up to by hordes of impressionable people yearning to be a little different from everyone else?
Only a matter of time before meat dresses go mainstream which will somehow mutate mad cow disease into mad person disease which will undoubtedly bring forth the Zombie Apocalypse!
Don't say I didn't warn you!