Chocolate Rivers and Laser Beams – A view of advertising from a student perspective

by Macleay Advertising student, Aleksandar Antonijevic

Some people view the advertising industry as an evil conglomerate of corporations set out for world domination, others see it as a Willy Wonka factory filled with sweets and surprises. But what we often forget is that behind all the lick-able walls and chocolate rivers – the advertising world is filled with hard-working individuals pouring their creativity and professionalism into campaigns to engage you with products that aim to improve the quality of your life.

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Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Source: Rotten Tomatoes

That being said, how many advertisements are really all that engaging? And do they actually work? Studies show that well researched and executed advertising does indeed work. Consumers often notice ads for things that fill a need in their current life. For example; Out of chocolate? If a car advertisement appears, you probably aren’t going to notice it. But if a Cadbury super-delicious commercial for chocolate appears – your eyes are glued to the TV, and next thing you know you magically find yourself at the nearest supermarket with a wallet in hand and a Cadbury in the other!

As a student studying advertising, I get mixed responses from people when I tell them what profession I am pursuing. Some give me the thumbs up, some laugh and some look at me like I am Bowser from Mario. In all honestly, being Bowser would be quite cool. As previously mentioned,  the world sees advertising as some Dr Evil type industry supporting sharks with laser beams attached to their heads. But this world isn’t about manipulation – heck, it isn’t even about making ads – it’s all about engagement.

Advertisement works best when it creates word of mouth promotion. Best example is when one of your friends comes up to you and says “Dude, did you see the latest KFC ad? The one with the 2 fillets and cheese? Yeah what’s up with that?” – Engagement.

Talking about advertising on the street is like gossiping. It doesn’t matter if you talk about an ad from a creative or a critical point of view, in the end you have all absorbed the information the advertisement has projected, you’re affiliated with a product and the ad will be stuck in your mind for most of the next week.

In the real world agencies spend countless hours creating these engagements. From the Brief, a sheet of white paper with black words on it agencies can create a fairy-tale dream-like experience to indulge your senses and hopefully give you reasons to side with that product.

Advertising is what you make of it.

Want it to be a magical chocolate factory? Sure, why not. Want to be like Dr Evil and have freaking sharks with laser beams attached to their heads? Then go with that. For me advertising is a magnificent tree filled with unlimited branches of opportunities that bare sweet fruits and blossoming spring-scented flowers, we are all climbing the tree and aiming for the top.

Welcome to the garden.

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