Art Or Commerce?

Is advertising art? This question has been there from the beginning. For sure, most advertising has been rendered so poorly, the claims that it might be an art form seem ludicrous. Yet, there are reasons to believe ads do constitute an art form. For one, if anyone could do it, the writers and art directors responsible for making ads would be put out to pasture. Creative endeavors require a leap of faith, no matter how much science must be infused into the work. These leaps of faith are taken by artists first, and then by a few brave suits who decide to follow.
Speaking of leaps of faith, I love to ponder the exaggerated claims typical of early 20th century advertising. Here Jantzen claims they invented the sport of swimming.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.