Saturday, May 17, 2008

TJDR Prize Winning Campaign for ABSA is a Joke

The Jupiter Drawing Room are a creative lot, I'm not going to argue that point. Since the days when the creative director visited AAA and drew a schlong on a white board, said, "You need to put that into advertising," I started treating TJDR product with circumcision...err...I mean ...circumspection.

Really? You've got to put a penis into your marketing message? Drive your point home eh? Thrust your creativity into the marketing mix? In theory yes, and it's always great to have an excuse, a license to be creative. But we have some some of the most awful architecture and other blunders in the marketing mainstream because the average person who considers him or herself creative, is actually far from it. An artistic streak - the real thing that courses through a rare few individuals blood, is not always a blessing, and while genius is a whisker away from madness (creatively speaking), there are few that know the difference.

Which brings us to the ABSA campaign. I remember reading Brendan Seery in The Star praising this campaign. I was in ABSA this morning and saw a beautiful and artistic depiction of feet, a child's ballet feet with the sort of whorly leafy folds in a pixie book, or in Lord of the Rings illustration. I don't know about you, but I'm not a hobbit, and I am in the bank to make a serious transaction.

Meanwhile, the message ABSA conveys (against a climate of growing financial austerity both here and abroad), is:

These feet have been
to a place
where the world cannot hold them down.
To the edge of dreams
where pain is nothing and glory
but a step away.

No matter where your dreams lead you
we'd like to help you get there.

So here you have a major financial institution basically reinforcing this disconnect with reality (I alluded to it below in the media and the financial markets). Daydream away, experience no pain - what fantasy world of finance is this?
Because right now a lot of ordinary people are feeling plenty of pain. They are starting to think of giving up their homes; they're certainly finding their lifestyles are no longer within reach.
Yet: ...these feet have been to places where the world cannot hold them down.
Ummm...right now, the world has taken hold, and in the real world food prices are affecting a global population. So while ABSA is saying you can get a house TODAY, in fact house prices are high, about to devalue, whoever is foolhardy enough to purchase in this market, will see their mortgage payments escalate while the value depreciates.

But hey it's a creative ad and it's all dreamy and that's all that matters? In reality what our friend from the advertising agency was saying, is when you put a penis into your advertising message, you're just sodomising a market, getting what you want out of it and leaving it in ruins. The media and advertising are culpable for this massive manipulation, to get consumers to sleep, perchance to dream, and to awaken in a nightmare. This was clear when I studied advertising, and it was clear when I did my internship at TJDR. Maybe ad executives can live with themselves (despite a job that requires the spreading of lies and unsustainable deceits), but we don't have to. But that requires a collective wake up, the start of critical thinking, and the end of our sleepwalk into the future.

No comments: