Please, No More Lipstick On The Pig

“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.” -Steve Jobs
Tom Asacker uses the above quotation in a post on authenticity in advertising, or the lack thereof.

McDonald’s ads used to shout, “We like to see you smile?” Now it’s, “I’m lovin’ it.” Really? Have you been to a McDonald’s lately? Have you seen anyone smiling or lovin’ anything? Veneer!
I’m with Eames as design relates to business: “Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose.” Now I’m not bashing designers or ad agencies. My guess is that no one has explained the purpose (a.k.a brand) to them. So they do the best that they can do, right? Even if it’s a huge waste of the client’s money.

Maybe no one explained to the brand team that the product or service offered is not the “end all, be all” they think it is. Or maybe no one explained to anyone on either side of the agency/client fence that authenticity matters.



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.