Advertising is Art

May 10, 2013

A lot of people are saying things to me along the lines of, ‘if this novel is successful, you can leave advertising.’ First of all, it’s not true. But second of all, why would you want to do that?

People outside of advertising seem to have a hard time seeing what we do as art. For obvious reasons: the ads they see every day. But we don’t judge the artistic worth of music by the Top 10 we hear every day, of literature by the books we see most often at the airport, of street art by the gang tags we pass on the way to the train.

I think the reason for people’s surprise at the idea that advertising is art, is their lack of exposure to the very best of it.

Like any art form, advertising must create an idea and execution that is compelling. Emotional. Surprising. That teaches you something about yourself. Makes a statement about our world. And leaves you changed a little bit. I’d say it achieves this with about the same hit-or-miss ratio as music, gaming, film, poetry, tv, and fiction. Probably more than poetry.

It also needs to do that across a range of media. And on top of this, it must convince you to go out and spend money on an item you might not need.

Here’s a list of a few recent pieces of advertising that are art. And are in themselves an answer to this question of ‘if this book is successful, will you leave advertising?’ Which is to say, ‘no.’