How not to make ads: why randomised communications don’t work

Ad_generatorthe Ad Generator is a brilliant application created by Alexis Lloyd, a a multimedia designer, information architect, and new media artist, who describes how…

"Words and semantic structures from
real corporate slogans are remixed and randomized to generate invented slogans.
These slogans are then paired with related images from Flickr, thereby generating
fake advertisements on the fly. By remixing corporate
slogans, I intend to show how the language of advertising is both deeply meaningful,
in that it represents real cultural values and desires, and yet utterly meaningless
in that these ideas have no relationship to the products being sold."

it's a fascinating idea, and it completely works as art (and even as a nifty screen saver if browsing in Firefox you press F11), but the product doesn't cut it as ads.  the assertion is flawed; the idea that "these ideas have no relationship to the products being sold" is from an age long-ago abandoned, if indeed it ever existed.

John Grant in After Image articulated that, instead of relying on the traditional (image-based) approach, brands should direct their efforts at building
shared meaning and learning as the basis for marketing.  this was after 'image'.  and you can't randomise words and pictures to create shared meaning and learning.  as Faris would observe; brands are ideas, and people have an intrinsically participatory relationship with ideas.  not with random words and pictures.

as for me, I believe that the role for brands is twofold: that brands give people reasons to be loyal to a product or service, and further that brands provide an affirmation of our purchase decisions.  as such, adverts are what brands say.  you can't create that from the ether.  whether or not you resonate with and believe them is another thing, but you can't random up an ad.

One response to “How not to make ads: why randomised communications don’t work

  1. It’s a nice idea, but like you I think his logic is flawed.
    For me a successful communication (advert, pr, conversation, brand extension… whatever), has to start from a consumer truth. A need or want fulfilled by the product. If the communication fails to do this, it won’t be connected in any way and will fail.
    Sure, really bad planning might turn out the occasional campaign that fails to connect with consumers but (in general) people who work in avertsing and the communications industy aren’t stupid – these days they wouldn’t be in a job if there was no payback (and therefor connection from their work).
    Its cute stuff. Turns up some lovely t-shirt designs/screen savers etc but ultimately doesn’t provide much insight. Shame.

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