It’s Mostly Garbage

I could give you a dozen or more reasons why advertising sucks, but there’s no need. There’s no need because there’s an entire blog dedicated to the topic.
“RestrictionsApply” at Why Advertising Sucks spells it out pretty nicely.

I blame my dad for making me realize the truth. He once asked me the following: “How is it that you, as an advertising professional, spend so much time, energy, sleepless nights, lost weekends, arguments and fights with your coworkers, countless mind-numbing meetings, tolerate idiotic changes, and actually compromise with people who have shit for brains, just to come up with a 30ss ad? How is it that it takes over two months to do this? After all, when your ad finally goes on the air, there’s a 98% I’ll change the channel. And if you’re doing print, there’s a 99.9% chance I’ll flip right by it and use it to line my bird’s cage.”
Of course, his observations totally pissed me off, and I tried to defend the creative and artistic merit behind the process. I tried to defend the economic process behind it all, the business of advertising, and what it means. He wasn’t buying it. He simply said: “It’s not worth it. Your time can be better spent enjoying and living your life, not bending backwards to make someone else money.”

For 13 years now, I’ve been saying it is worth it, but I have struggled to believe my own pitch.
I suppose like anything in life, advertising is what you make it. If you make advertising that offends for brands that don’t deserve your best efforts, then you have a problem. On the other hand, if you make advertising that educates and entertains for companies doing good things, there’s no problem.



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.