Wednesday, April 6, 2016

In Being Advertising Whore

About 2 weeks ago, I spent my entire week in an advertising/creative industry convention in Pattaya, Thailand: Adfest 2016 with my partner Kennardi. Here are some excessive number of pictures of my activities (sorry not sorry).

My Thai Airlines boarding pass and "passport" for Adfest. It gets me to $1000 seminars, great luncheon foods, and also night buffet dinner. Get it all for free! 

On chartered Camry, took us from Bangkok to Pattaya with a driver who happened to be loyal driver to Raam Punjabi.

The seminar and its serious topic: how to generate humor.
Waiting for sunset in the city viewpoint. Skipping a seminar though. (Btw, look at the official totebag of Adfest 2016, still look cute even though only partially shown)

The almost sunset from city viewpoint. Pattaya is harbour area.

Enjoying street foods near our hotel,

and in the red district of Pattaya, Walking Street. Thailand foods are in strong level of sour game!

A day in Bangkok with stomach ache, non-stop growling and the feeling of wanting to be pat in the hair and tucked with lullaby. But still managed the non-stop walking and train hopping. It was fun anyway!

Also managed to survive with little help of these

And most importantly saltwater rooftop pool in our hotel.

The whole thing was a grand prize granted to me and Kennardi as we nailed our latest advertising competition in BG award Citra Pariwara back in 2015. Well, I've been focusing my study (and career?) in this field for almost 4 years now and when I went there, I was still being skeptical about all of the ad life.
For those who have entirely no idea of what's going on in an ad agency, I assume you guys must be seeing us as this in your mind:

or some of the most ignorant people will see us as an offset company which work is:

Sorry, I have to ruin your irrelevant imagination because advertisings are not those. (Well those activity might be part of advertising, infact very small part of it. However, those can't be used to describe the whole idea of it.)
"Most advertising is scandalous waste of money"
the slide was presented by Steve Henry from D&AD.
Advertising was immensely growing when the industry revolution came up with advanced machine in manufactory. The instrument made the manufactory process capable to produce high amount of goods at once. Production became massive while the value of craftmanship was slowly gone. Every product's value is almost indistinctive. Each product is materially posessed almost the same level of value. Then one thing led to another, advertising (that we know now) grew. It existed to help manufactory build certain message for certain products so that they would possess different value in public's mind. Advertising task was simply rewiring human brain with many ideas and associations for each product and brand. With better value in one's mind, product can set higher price in the market and also possibly gain higher market share.

Now, advertising is widely recognized as tools to nurture consumerism, which is somehow perceived as bad thing for society. Well that's partially true. Advertising (sometimes) makes people buy things they don't really need at the first place but buy it anyway because of certain reason that advertising tells them to. But for our condition now, it's not that simple. Advertising can not be blatantly telling you what's good about the product or some other boring messgaes. People won't believe in that anymore. That makes advertising people have to be really aware of social dynamics. They always have to come up with new idea and strategy in order to be relevant in society.

Ya, advertising is not just making words to make people buy. We have to be relevant and smart and yada yada, to actually make people buy. But then, it doesn't even help to answer the negativity that advetising brings, which is consumerism, isn't it?

In my opinion, it's not merely advertising fault that people become so consumptive. It's people own responsibility though. I mean, in better society, advertising is not merely about selling the product. Sometimes advertising's objective is about building brand, in order to build brand integrity, or even to encourage people to be aware of important issues which also be the brand's concerns. For example, the famous Dove advertising that encourage women to be more confident (despite of its many critics but the main message is a nice thing anyway):

Well then the clientele would think, "it's just a waste of money! We don't need that, we refuse to pay for bullshit and things. What we need is for people to buy our product so that we can have more money. After all, revenue is the main goal!" Well don't go in advertising then. Because the main reason of advertising now and then is not to sell product anyway. Well that's actually also be the reason, but not the main one I think. Here is the thing, if people were more aware of building better society with the product they are trying to market, they won't ask advertising to merely sell their product. They'll ask advertising to help them deliver their message which supposed to be "I'm helping you with my product". Ummmm.. But that's so naive, I know. But, the reason why advertising we know now is merely being tools for selling product to gain revenue is because people are just so into money, aren't they? People egocentric mind is the main issue!

That's just my opinion (or justification) about advertising after spending a week in the advertising convention. I found lot of interesting insights, one of them is that advertising has actually been growing better in many countries across Asia. I've come to believe that advertising peers are also responsible for social progress, because.......

They bring innovation:

They are inspiring, especially to solve problem in fun way:

They bring dreams:

They intentionally help people for social cause:

They remind us that our everyday life experiences are important and noteworthy:

But sometimes, even though the story is good, the message is merely to make our shopping decision so shallow. And in this case, celebrating throwing away items that are perfectly fine for superficial reason. (Sorry not sorry, but it has really good plot though.)

After all, advertising is a relevant and understandable form of art!
But nobody is care enough to know them better because advertising is considered as shallow according to popular critical beliefs: it supports negative side of capitalism.

Please don't deny that we live among thousand of products which is mostly brought by the rich tycoons. And it grows everyday whether it actually has good purpose or merely wants profits. In that fact, we need to acknowledge better information. Because in the first  place, product is made to ease people difficulties. And ethically, advertsing must not tell lie about anything in the product. And for all I know, advertising is almost never lying (only those ignorant advertisers who dare to lie). Advertising just dig you deeper that you don't even aware of some hidden facts about product's utility (practically or emotionally). And maybe you don't even aware of some truth about yourself. Don't be mad if we notice it and you unconciously agree. But don't be easily manipulated then. We are just trying to deliver message in most relevant and interesting way.

The point I'm trying to convey is, in better society advertising would not be recognized merely as tools to sell product, it'll get more appreciation for its real purpose to make people acknowledge and learn better about their difficulties through product's insight. Well, just my humble (or not so humble) opinion after all. Viva advertising!