The Mystique of Marketing

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The mystique of marketing, Mad Men style.

The 60s and 70s, when creative concepts were born over Martinis and Old Fashions, and every-day products like breakfast cereals, vacuum cleaners, and washing powders not only became household names, but trusted friends.

In the world of the internet, what is it about the advertisers of the past that still fascinates us?

Forgetting the gender and racial inequality (and all that darn drinking) have we really come further, standing on the shoulders of those marketing giants?

The ‘Big Idea’: Advertising in the 60s and 70s

The image of sweating men in shirtsleeves in a smoke-filled office, hammering out a creative concept for XYZ product is the stuff of advertising legend.

And so are some of the campaigns they created.

The ‘big idea’ of advertising in the 60s and 70s was to give a product a purpose, construct a lifestyle around it, and make it desirable for the consumer.

The world was told to “Think Small” by Volkswagen, or advised that “A Mars a day helps you work, rest, and play,” or told to drink Coke because “It’s the real thing.”

The ‘big idea’ of advertising in the 60s and 70s was to give a product a purpose, construct a lifestyle around it, and make it desirable for the consumer.

And the longer an advertiser could convince the consumer that the lifestyle it was selling was the only one worth living, the stronger the consumer’s loyalty to the brand became.

Sacrificing creativity for clickbait

In the 60s and 70s, advertising success was measured by the number of products sold.

Today, marketers must concern themselves with customer engagement, brand awareness, clicks, shares, likes…taking away the time and space for inspiration and ingenuity.

The obsession with clicks at all costs has driven out much of the creativity that spawned the legendary campaigns of the 60s and 70s.

And what are we left with?

Advertisements that favour sensationalism over substance, but do nothing to nurture brand loyalty.

Hangovers of the three-Martini lunch

Although we might have pop-up ads and cookies, the 60s and 70s weren’t without their own marketing pests.

Thankfully, the Avon lady, the tragic door-to-door salesman and the passive peer-pressure of the Tupperware party have all been (mostly) retired as relics of the Golden Age of advertising.

Unfortunately, the infomercial, clinging desperately to its Baby Boomer audience, still peddles its wares and bonus steak knives on TV every morning.

Advertising in the 60s and 70s taught us about the power of the creativity in advertising campaigns.

It showed us how the ‘Big Idea’ can endure through generations of consumers and how we can continue to use this process for advertising in the Internet Age.

With not a Martini or steak knife in sight.

Alanah PurtellComment