Don Draper isn’t real. Nor is his selfish charm. As sad as this makes the AMC-viewing female population, I’m not just referring to the Mad Men character’s suave character. No, I’m talking about the money-laundering yet creative womanizer that’s become a stereotypical characteristic of the advertising world. I’m aware that there are still plenty of power-hungry figure heads in this line of work, but I’m happy to say that (from my personal experiences), these folks no longer make up the majority. That’s right, not all advertisers are life-sucking, dollar-chomping capitalists. Some of us in the industry have souls. Shocking, isn’t it?
Advertising, in my opinion— really good advertising—has the same effect as your favorite movie or song. It makes you feel. Not guilty. Not violently pushed up against a wall. Not pressured into purchasing the latest and greatest (or else suffer as a social outcast). It strikes a chord deep within you, makes a switch click and a light turn on that you, thereon, hold loyally to the brand that solicited the effect. As a result, this kind of advertising makes you associate a positive feeling with a brand. That the company doing the advertising has heart.
For me particularly, brilliant advertising has the same effect as a wonderful book. As you thumb through the last few pages of the final chapter, you relish every word, every morsel of information before the end. You know it’s approaching quickly. You savor what’s left and brace yourself for the crescendo. You close the book and that majestic feeling of both satisfaction and craving for more takes over. At the end of a good commercial, you watch the logo pop up on your screen. Tears well up in your eyes, you burst out laughing, or you smile to yourself. You’ve been left with a feeling that will never leave you.
Think Publix. Shopping strangely is a pleasure every time I go to get my weekly groceries. Even when I have to return putrid, prematurely-expired chicken. I accept the customer service representative’s apology every time and come back for more (preferably fresh, however), all because the company’s commercials and branding speaks to the sappy little girl inside of me. Expedia’s latest “Share Your” campaign by the folks at 180 LA is just another example of this emerging, soulful kind of advertising. These guys know how to capitalize on branding (and the holiday season) while giving you the warm-and-fuzzies. Ain’t nothing soulless about that. Gone are the days of Sterling Cooper corruption. Welcome in a new breed of sweet ol’ advertising softies with raging hormones and a heart that’s two sizes too big. I can’t wait to contribute.