Thinking about Sunday’s post, I’ve come to a few conclusions that seem to have thrown up more questions than I would like.
1. As commenter ‘Paul’ pointed out, there were holes in my assertion through which a Sherman Tank could be driven. There are plenty of ads now that are as good, in their own way, as Lemon.
2. But plenty are far worse, so if advertising doesn’t improve uniformly, that just makes it like many other art forms. Unlike science, where you build on each piece of knowledge until it becomes obsolete, the development of art creates ‘new’ and ‘different’, but whether either of those two words denote ‘better’, is a matter of opinion. I believe ads like ‘Lemon’ would be considered brilliant today, but much of what was produced 50 years ago would not, and that’s just like movies (Renoir, Kurosawa, Hawks=great; thousands of other films from their era-shite), books, art etc.
3. Perhaps the improvement of ads is more like evolution, where the obsolete is discarded as the form seeks to fit its current time. Sure, we still have press ads, but the starburst has long since disappeared (pretty much).
4. But then there’s the relentless search for the new. Does that lead to viable styles and techniques being cast aside before their time? Or is this neophilia a result and perpetuation of the need for originality?