You don’t have to spend your life addicted to smack, Homeless on the streets giving handjobs for the weekend.
I’m not here to make friends:
Gift of Gab:
I’m not here to make friends:
Gift of Gab:
Last month I wrote this about truth.
Since then I’ve seen a really interesting victory for lies.
There were lots of them involved in the Brexit vote, so I’m not going to cover them all, but let’s just take this big one as an example:
After the vote happened this explanation was offered:
People calling this out have since been referred to as ‘pedants’.
And the Brexiteers got in on the promise on reducing immigration, but that was all bollocks, too:
OK, no judgement here about the content of those lies. Instead, let’s look at a world where colossal lies are becoming normal, accepted and a key weapon in any attempt to persuade large numbers of people on a position that might seem less than appealing.
In America Donald Trump has spent the last twelve months fibbing his bottom off about pretty much every single issue pertaining to his attempt to become the US President. And where has it got him? He’s seen off 16 other candidates, some of whom foolishly decided to tell the truth, to become the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton, by slight contrast has only employed some form of mendacity in around half her statements to become the Democratic Party’s nominee.
So lying works! Hooray! Forget all that silly guff I said about telling the truth. It’s a massive waste of time!
But how has this become the case? Haven’t we all been brought up to consider lying to be a bad thing? Won’t people think that if a person found communicating through barefaced lies might do so again? And that would be bad, right? If Donald or Hillary get in they might well lie to the American people. Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson might also do the same in the UK. How can we trust them?
Well, it doesn’t seem to matter. Either we’ve come to accept that politicians will lie to us or we’ve come to view lies as not that bad after all. Did people stop buying VWs after they lied about their CO2 emissions? I’m going to guess that not many people gave a fuck. So what’s the incentive not to lie? Is there one? If you tell the truth in a way that leaves you at a disadvantage are you just some kind of weak-ass Colonel Blimp character? Do we all now have to play the game of presenting ourselves in an a way that dishonestly exaggerates out attributes and conceals our faults?
I’ve written in the past that the advertising industry has normalised exaggeration (or ‘dramatising the benefit’), so someone who wears Nike trainers goes on such a long run that his wife doesn’t recognise him when he returns:
Prices are so shockingly low that people who see them are dangerously distracted:
Sony’s colour TVs are so amazing, watching them is as breathtaking as this:
But that’s fine; we all know they’re ads, so we know the score: they’re talking shite to make a small benefit look amazing. If they were realistic about what they were selling the ads would be boring, so that’s an obvious no-no (sarcasm emoji required).
Then again, people say the same thing about politics: practitioners in that field are expected to lie, so when they do (even if we might have no idea they’re doing it) we should just accept it, or others will suggest we’re idiots for doing otherwise.
Have we slowly created a world where lies don’t matter? I know politicians have misled us in the past, but the difference back then was that the public tended to be annoyed when that happened.
With no adverse consequences for lying, human beings are going to do what they always do: stretch the boundaries of what is acceptable until they snap. But will they ever snap? It’ll be interesting to see where the Brexit situation leads, and whether or not Donald’s lies damage his chances of becoming president. Until then, though, I’m just going to chill out from my expedition to the top of Everest by polishing my six Oscars and writing a few more songs for Bob Dylan.
UPDATE (there might be a few of these):
The New York Subway in the 80s (thanks, T).
Curbed outtakes (thanks, T):
2016 Tarantino commencement speech:
Today the wider media shook its head at another dismal example of the ad industry’s most pathetic behaviour…
Seriously, can everyone involved in this just fuck right off?
It’s hard enough trying to maintain credibility in the face of the jargonistas who can’t use one word if 35,000 will do.
And all the online ads that are so annoying that adblockers are the only way of maintaining your sanity.
And the sophomoric race to the next shiny new thing, like kittens chasing the light from a laser pen…
When we have to deal with another Lifepaint cackwipe it really doesn’t do us any favours.
For a communications industry whose entire reason for existence is to present things in their best light we are pretty fucking AMAZING at doing the opposite when it comes to ourselves.
I’m currently driving from New York to LA and back (family holiday).
Somewhere between Columbus, Ohio and Triadelphia, West Virginia, I saw an Oreo truck, which made me think: who invented Oreos? And isn’t it fucking amazing how popular they’ve become and remained, across many countries?
Isn’t it funny how much we venerate music, movies and art, yet barely spare a thought for Etch-a-Sketches, Prets and biros, all of which often impact our lives in much more fundamental ways.
Look how creative Arctic Monkeys and 12 Years A Slave are! Watch as they sell a million albums or win a bunch of Oscars! Compared to the genius who discovered the Mars Bar combination of caramel, nougat and chocolate they are both gnats farts.
And no, I’m not saying that creativity is a popularity contest, but to have made such a consistent, positive and lasting impact on so many millions with an invention is surely a far greater act of creativity than an album whose shelf life is a couple of years at best.
You could even compare these other things to classics like Casablanca or St Pepper: they’ve lasted decades and still give the same enjoyment to subsequent generations that weren’t even born when they were invented.
Monopoly, Coke, Robertson’s Golden Shred, your favourite magazine, Clarins make up (or whatever brand you like), Levi’s, Tetris, cats eyes (the ones in the middle of roads), Post-Its, Le Creuset saucepans, the X-Box, Ray-Ban Wayfarers, your favourite blogs and podcasts, Pedigree Chum, a great pillow that holds its shape, the Rubik’s Cube, those Saucony trainers that take five seconds off your mile time, a Zippo lighter…
They may not have award shows at Cannes for all of the above (the product design section of D&AD has been eclectic enough to include the iPhone and a JCB, but very few of the kind of things you buy every day), but they ought to be as celebrated as any integrated, 360, mobile wankathon that might win a few Grands Prix.
As an example, here’s a massively-awarded spot from a while ago that might as well never have happened:
What’s a greater act of creativity, that or Cadbury’s Creme Eggs?
And what great creations do you think are more deserving of recognition?
Illustrated maths (thanks, T).
Cats=works of art (thanks, T2).
Food logos redesigned to show their calories (thanks, J).
In the Euros, please support Wangland (thanks, X).
More Euros: the Onion Oracle (thanks, A&O):
In my USA cross-country trip I have mostly been listening to RHLSTP. So much good stuff:
I was listening to some podcast the other day where a famous person (can’t recall who) pointed out that no one teaches you how to be famous. The way she put it was that other famous people don’t just turn up at your door one day and give you the manual; you have to work out every aspect of it yourself. Everyone is different, so every situation is different and no single set of rules can apply to everything.
Which made me think about how advertising creatives learn their craft.
Let’s assume you went to college first. Watford, St Martins, Ad Center and the other ones all give you some level of education which you then take on and hopefully use to get a job in an agency.
Then it’s up to you. In my personal experience there are four main sources of further education:
Have you learned a bunch of excellent shiz from an unexpected place? Have you bothered to continue your education? Does this all sound too much like school, which gives you the shivers because school was really horrible, especially when Darren Witherspoon pulled down your pants in front of the football team, earning you the nickname ‘peanut’?
Confessions of a stock photography model (thanks, W).
What would happen if humans disappeared?
The gun bed:
Brexitbelly (thanks, J).
What everyone earns on a $200m movie (thanks, J):
Click, hold then move your mouse (thanks, S).
I think this might work well with headphones and a spliff (thanks, S):
My friend and former colleague Tom Hares is starting a company called Buzzbikes.
Basically, it puts ads on bikes that are then seen around town as they are ridden and parked.
The riders get a free bike made by Mini Cooper, in exchange for which they have to make sure the bike is out and about a certain number of days each month.
It’s already backed by some very smart people, and you too can invest here from as little £10.
And you can find out more/apply for a bike here.
Tom is a top bloke, and the idea does seem like one of those ‘why didn’t I think of that’ ones, so do have a look (full disclosure: I’ve looked very hard into investing but I’d have to pay tax on any profits in both the US and UK, so it doesn’t work for me, but if I were based in the UK I would definitely give it a go).
PS: Hegs is a fan…
Dear occasional commenter and longtime reader Anonymouse,
Could you clear something up for me about your most recent comment…
Fuck average people.
Awards shows aren’t for them.
Was that intended to be a joke? I thought it was, but others have interpreted it differently (that doesn’t invalidate Dave’s blog, by the way; it’s still 100% pertinent and relevant).