So What’s Wrong With Advertising?

Let’s put aside for a minute how bad so much advertising is.  What’s really wrong with advertising, since you ask, is the cynicism that underpins and informs and animates so much of it.  Advertising that laughs at people.  Advertising that talks down to people.  Advertising that outright lies to people.  Advertising that’s fake and phony and lacking any connection to the reality of life as most of us know and live it.

Advertising that’s just the same old same old same old same old same old.

You’ve seen it.  The mom obsessed with household cleaning products.  The stupid dad who exists only to provide a cheap punch line.  The hip young people who get their hipness from the hats they wear.  The zany old people acting like young people.  The sassy African American woman.  The Stepford families.

The liquor ads that imply you’ll get lucky from buying the liquor.  The fast food ads where the fast food bears no resemblance to anything you’ve ever seen in the real world.  The car ads where heads turn as a run-of-the-mill midsized sedan drives by.  The technology ads that smother the product in expensive computer effects to dramatize things the product can’t even do.

These ads – and so many more like them – share a common flaw:

They don’t respect their audience.

Or the brand, for that matter.

And that’s what’s wrong with advertising.  A lot of it, anyway.  How can communication hope to make a real difference when the side doing the communicating looks down on the side doing the receiving?

So What’s the Alternative?