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What Could Ads Tell About Our Society?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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It's near the end of Creative Week in NYC, and it seems the lasting impression on the week is the thought of the footprints our advertising environment is leaving. Throughout the decades, we can see how advertising shifted based on the norms of society. As the nuclear family changed, so did advertising to families. As the role of women in society changed, so did advertising to women. As sex changed in society, so did advertising.

These changes, though major as we see them now, were gradual throughout the decades. And the advertising gradually changed too. But what if a future society looked at our ads hundreds of years later? What could they deduce from our society based on them?

At Creative Week, Audio Tour Hack was brought on by The One Club and Creative Week to present "Mad World," an exhibition that would imagine what a future society could determine what our society was like based on five ads. The categories covered were mating ritual, politics, health & medicine, city life, and the environment.

Taking a look at the ads in a different light really makes you think: what was going on in that society?

Mating Ritual:

Mad World - Relic Log JS2: Mating Ritual from Audio Tour Hack on Vimeo.

The Environment:

Mad World - Relic Log MS4: The Environment from Audio Tour Hack on Vimeo.

It challenges our thinking, does it not? If advertising is the language of business, and is meant to create messages that are relevant, simple and appealing, should they not be able to convey a message through time? Yes, we realize that Audio Hack Tour and "Mad World" is playful, but there is a tidbit of truth that our creative strains should not get too out of hand. 

When introducing a new product or concept, one way to get started is by describing to someone "as if they have never heard of it before." With "Mad World" in mind, can we approach advertising in a way that our work can stand the test of time? Can our advertising provide a snapshot of a moment in our society?

Does it matter?


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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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