Advertising: A sign of the times

October 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

Design Practice in Context 2 Lecture 30/10/2013

This day in age we are a lot more aware of the kinds of adverts there are that derive from TV, print, billboards, the web, banner advertisements and so on. Whatever form of advertising is being used is all about contributing an emotional quality to something so that we as consumers will act upon it – by things like buying a product, voting for someone, quitting smoking, or eating healthily. The financial and sexual freedom in advertising was inspired by the American consumer boom in the early 20th century.

Optimism in advertisement flourished at the beginning of the 70s. It did however start to get a little heavy duty towards the end of the decade. At the time, because there were no restrictions for advertising, it was known as a massively sexist advertising era. They showed death, gore and other such things in their product promotion as well – there was no cencorship. Advertising dominated because brands realised big business was involved with advertisements. At that time, politically and economically the future was uncertain due to events such as the Oil Crisis, Unemployment, Famine, The IRA, Cold War and the threat of Russian Nuclear War. Because of this everyone voted out the Conservative government.


The 80s was a distinctive era for the growing divide between the rich and poor. Social inequality was proven massively, and advertising and media channels were more prevalent. Huge amounts of money was spent on advertising – it was also known as the style over substance decade as the was a big drive on consumerism.


Then there was new media, globalisation and the web explosion – apple macs and mobile phones drove the business era that was the 90s. Previously, branding was about greed and individualism – subsequently there was a rethink and in essence a backlash, as it became the anti-advertising decade. Optimism, music, fashion and design in the UK was very desirable by the rest of the world. The Blair Witch Project was a distinctive 90s project, and one of the first films to use viral web advertising as promotion.


The Millennium made way for the weird and wonderful advertising industry. In the noughties there was no hard-selling – it was more about the intrigue, fun and getting people to think. Advertising was calmer, and the idea of less is more was more prominent. Pure, beautiful design.

Immersion and the cinema experience – dim lights, surround sound and no distractions means the audience is completely immersed and their experience is emphasised. Immersion is a state of conscienceless where an immersent’s awareness of physical self is diminished. Often artificial, this mental state is often accompanied with spacial excess, heightened emotions and deep concentration. DCM, a cinema advertising company, did an interesting experiment where people at home had to draw an advert they had seen on TV. The same experiment was done on people who had seen the same advert at the cinema. The drawings done by the people who had seen the advert on TV were rather vague compared to the drawings done by those in the cinema. This is because  TV works by repeating the same brand level messages, while cinema provides a deeper impact.



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