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AdMen and Aliens...Awesome?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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You know your industry is officially part of the American zeitgeist when a movie about it and aliens are set to hit the mainstream.

Yes, advertising and aliens.

The trailer for the movie Branded has officially started to make its rounds throughout the Internet. The movie features Ed Stoppard, Jeffrey Tambor, and Max von Sydow and it is about an advertising agency that creates a campaign that triggers a buying spree unlike any we have ever seen. Turns out that the agency is a front for alien mind control.

Below is the trailer.

Our source from Co.Create mentions that this premise isn't entirely new. In fact, John Carpenter had a 1988 film called They that was also cut from the "anti-consumerism" cloth.

With all the hype about "truth in advertising" and the legal battles between the FTC and brands, along with the sustained cry against advertising to children, it is about time Hollywood got a whiff of the public's skepticism of AdLand. Is AdLand really so vile that it may even be a front for alien mind control?

It's cheeky, for sure, but it does display part of the image problem advertising currently embraces. AdLand, a place where people who understood people once worked, has now turned into Corporate America's Yes Man. Brands demand agencies turn tricks in order to boost the bottom line regardless of the creativity of the work. When practices like predictive modeling out-glam the creative brainstorm, it is not the message that is important. Brands just want to be in front of an audience, instead of appealing to them. If you were an outsider and we had to explain predictive modeling, would it not sound pretty "alien" to you?

This movie is not going to help AdLand's image. But it can wake AdLand up to see that more than just 4As/ANA press releases announcing "best practices in the industry reports" is required in order to change perception.

Or is there more to this problem? Meaning, is it systemic? Are there AdPeople out there who actually believe advertising can completely influence and manipulate the behavior of the masses? 

Either way, it will be interesting to see how this film is perceived when it comes out. Art & Copy, meet your nemesis. 

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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