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Can advertising make you a selfless lover?

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so what we find attractive in someone is subjective. This doesn’t just apply to the way people look, but anything of an aesthetic nature, in fact anything light touches and inversely doesn’t, can be open to debate surely? It’s my opinion vs yours. We can try and apply logic but there’s really no right or wrong, a long nose vs short, a grade one vs long curly locks. We each see things that others don’t and find beauty in any detail. Of course if we all saw things the same way the world would be a very boring place indeed. Match.com have actually hit the nail on the head with their tagline – If you don’t like your imperfections someone else will.

In advertising, however subjective, the beholder is your target audience. You want them to sit in pubs debating about the beauty of your product. And wouldn’t it be amazing if they fell in love with your product’s imperfections as well? As a creative you have to be incredibly objective, push personal preferences aside and dangle your mind into that of your target audience. What really appeals to them and how will we get them to see the ad and then take action? We are transplanting our wants for someone else’s, trying to figure out their daily routine, a sort-of mental stalking if you like.

I still vividly remember my first ever advertising lesson at St Martins. Everyone in the class was given some plasticine and then my lecturer said “make something” and then left the room for an hour. We were all sat there, baffled, what did she want us to make? Of course being art students surely enough there were some incredible creations by the end of it. She walked back in and then went around each and every one of us, one by one crushing those that she said weren’t right, for some there were nearly tears. The only one I remember left unscathed was a brownie sculpted out of brown plasticine. I didn’t get it, it looked like a brownie, so what? She went on to explain that plasticine was perfect for moulding a brownie as they shared the same texture and colour. What she was teaching us all that day was not to do something because we like it but because it works best for the subject.

So yes in a sense advertising does teach you to be a selfless lover, at least when it comes to your strategy and insights. Of course the personality and preference of the creatives will creep in towards the execution of the ads. Each creative has a certain distinctive style and that’s why they work at an agency that appreciates their style and it’s the agency’s style that the client likes. So for it to be a harmonious relationship your preferences need to be more-or-less aligned. The client and the agency should share the same understanding of how to win over the consumer’s affections. If they get it right then they can be an unbeatable team, the Casanova of advertising wooing the hearts of millions with a single look.

They said Picasso seduced his women with the famous Spanish stare, just a brief glance into those dark pits for eyes and women fell at his feet. That’s all an ad needs, just one look.

They don’t know it yet but your new admirer could be just around the corner from you billboard, where those new trainers are brightly displayed with the most enticing of tag-lines. With one glance and one draw of cupid’s arrow your ads are sent hurling through the air into the minds of unsuspecting consumers, who are instantly smitten, that is if you did it right, selflessly. The words repeatedly whispering in their ears throughout the day until they can’t resist any more, “those beautiful trainers must be mine” they shout. Another match well made!

Happy Valentine’s weekend!