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On the two types (or are there?) of advertising.

I see advertising as (roughly) split into two.

On the one hand, we have PPCish ads – things of ugly and meaningless clickbait noise that my brain basically blends out. Not inspirational, not aspirational.

Like what's featured at the top of my Gmail 'Promotions' tab.


Lest I sound too dismissive: I'm actually studying this type of advertising at the moment. These ads are obviously effective, and if something can make our clients money (and by extension the business and thus myself money) it would be incredibly short-sighted of me to ignore it just because it doesn't appeal to me personally.

And there's definitely a "creativity within restraint" process involved in creasing the most effective ads given the incredibly restricted character limit.

Then there's the other hand.

Because then there are those ads which – both visually and in terms of copy – are things of pure beauty, and (often) driven by so much intelligence. Those ads which I at least would consider art. (Not to get into the whole art vs. advertising debate – that's a whole different post.)

Like just look at this vintage Air France travel poster ad (illustrated by P. Baudouin, 1947; image embedded from here).


(Note: I spent about an hour looking at pretty ads and choosing a representative was so, so hard...especially when looking at the London Transport Museum's collection of old ads.)

But then I thought: what do aesthetically appealing promoted posts fall under – like if these brand-driven Facebook posts were featured as promoted content? Aesthetically appealing YouTube InDisplay ads? Is advertising a spectrum rather than a dichotomy, and all these ads are ultimately sales-driven permutations of the same underlying concept?

That's the part I'm still trying to work out.


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