I. Agent to parasites

Orchids fool bees into carrying their pollen by making the bee think that it is getting laid.
Advertising works in a somewhat similar fashion.
The difference is; instead of genes, it is in the business of propagating memes*.

Advertisers needs agencies because, intrinsically, most commercial memes are not interesting enough. Deep down in our hearts and colons, we don’t care about soaps and cars. we care about love and health and sex and our sense of self and so on. (just read Vonnegut’s Breakfast of Champions. hence the hangover of ‘and so on’.)
So the parasitic commercial memes piggy back on emotional/ funny memes we really care about. Agencies in that sense are the piggie-safari-wallahs. Agencies help the fat advertiser climb onto the pig of ideas. (pig of ideas.. that doesn’t make any sense. anyways.)

II. Advertising business is simply not as rewarding as it was before.

If you look at an idea objectively beyond the context of its birth, it looks much grander.
Think of the last idea you had for a client’s campaign. and now think a logical conclusion to that idea divorced from the brand. Put that idea onto another stage/ context/ medium – see how it expands. if it is a good idea, it will always fill up the volume of your imagination – more than any brand can do justice to the idea.
bee_orchid
Before internet, people only had advertising as profession where ideas could find a definite shape and reach millions. Your idea piggy backed on client’s money. and client’s commercial meme piggy backed on your emotional/ funny/ useful idea. ‘Symbiotic’.

But now we have the internet and much more.  Ideas can translate to bigger things if you let them run free. the digital world has brought down the cost of realising ideas drastically. It has given us the tools to translate and mutate ideas in infinite ways.
Then why straitjacket your ideas for the sake of commercial messages?
Advertising serves only as a business solution.

Advertising shouldn’t be romanticised any more as business of ideas. It is, what it essentially always was, a business of persuasion. You might tell a ‘story’ to persuade or go ‘native’ or ‘mine insights’. all advertising is doing is to adapt to the new reality to propagate commercial memes.

So unless you profit from it handsomely, why waste your good ideas on it? 
Earlier, brands would pay shitloads for an idea. a clean 15%. Now they have turned an idea into commodity – stripped to hours, execution costs, bargains. Artists (or closet artists) can do better. There are enough businessmen who can run this show. Leave it to them.

Any good idea that a planner/ creative can think of for a brand can always find a bigger expression in the digital playground now.

A creative/ planner (a closet creative person) can now put his ideas into movies, songs, comics, business, apps, installations and so on. He can do all that by himself. for himself. and yet make money out of it.

Be honest. you didn’t come into advertising because you loved brands. you came because you thought you are an artist. But you are scared to actually be one. Look around you. The only ones who are left are the ones who are too old or too young or the ones who are too afraid. everyone else has taken their flight to the land of trying.

What’s an advertising guy without his/her side project? //nudge//nudge//

III. Nostalgia
The orchid’s partner bee went extinct. and yet the orchid carries on the pretence as if with a nostalgic tumour.

Advertising industry, as it stands today, seems to be in a similar situation. You, under-paid friend of mine, do not need nostalgia of others.

*meme – info copied from person to person

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One thought on “Advertising as parasitic meme

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