What Can :30 Seconds Do?

Until recently I used to say “it’s not a matter of life and death” or “it’s only advertising.” 

Those statements are meant to provide perspective; for the person saying it and for the people hearing it. They both do a little bit more than that. Those statements create an excuse. They can also minimize the impact and significance of what we can do.

That’s unfortunate.

Advertising isn’t like treating or curing a disease. Of course it isn’t. And it’s certainly not akin to, or even in the same ballpark, as providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless, or sanctuary for abused children or battered women.

No, it’s not like that either.

At it’s very best, advertising can be a lot like art. I’m not saying those infomercials for Oxy Clean, Life Alert, or even the Snuggie, are forms of art. I’m definitely not saying that.

What I’m saying is that advertising can be a lot like art in that while the purpose is to inform a large audience of message or product “X,” a person can take something away from it that’s inherently more personal.

For instance, when my sister got married I wish I had done something like this, which isn’t to say I was chubby bumbling idiot like the brother in that commercial. Well, at least I wasn’t a bumbling idiot.

Tell me you can walk away from this longer-form ad without holding back a tear and I’ll call you on cold-hearted son of a bitch.

And this commercial just rips me up. My father is getting older. He’s moving more slowly, napping more often, and the thought of losing him has been on my mind more and more these last few months. It’s painful the mere thought. This commercial visualizes it. Ugh.

I think that after those three videos I’ve made the point and you’ve understood it. Right? Mass messages, pimping a product or service, can do, if done well, so much more than “sell” and “inform.”

I guess the reason behind my writing about this today is that I’m surrounded by what seems like meaningless, shallow, and sometimes empty opportunities to create an ad for a client. In taking a step back every now and then, I allow myself to think about what can be. And what these opportunities can be are inspirational, life-altering, and moving… but sometimes, they can just be funny. And to be honest, after writing all this gut-wrenching stuff, I can use a laugh.

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