ART IN ADVERTISING
Successful advertising creative is someone who absorbs cultural and social trends and infuses the campaigns they conceive with ideas that reflect contemporary society, in order to appeal to the target audience of their ads.
Inevitably this may include ideas gleaned from the art world, which itself is influenced by wider society. When talking about art advertising, there’s an infinite range of options. Getting art to effectively mingle with a theme and the phycology of an ad can be tricky. Choosing the right art can make the connection with the consumer wanting to motivate. Choosing the art wrong could end up being the most expensive advertising you can buy.
So, you think you found the perfect art for the campaign? Consider how the art will translate into all forms of media and environments in which they’re seen.
Artists and advertising creatives alike are in the business of translating their view of the world into their chosen art form, and this view could either be an extension of real life, or a view of what a perfect life could be.
Or it could be a fabrication of how we think life should be, an idealized version of life, upon which we can project our fantasies. To quote ‘Mad Men’s’ Don Draper “What you call love was invented by guys like me to sell nylons”.
Art as a selling tool: selling as an art form.
Art is a medium of expression. More than one artist has described painting as a way of speaking, a language without the words. Many works of art present a new perspective, sometimes making sharp insights into society.
Advertising is also a visual means of conveying a message, though it is much more specific. The only message advertising really tries to get across is: Buy this product! Advertisements attempt to persuade the viewer to action, one that is solely centered on commerce.
We may be inclined to think art and advertising are opposed to each other, that they stand for completely different things. While this may be true at times, their relationship is much more complicated than that. Art and advertising draw from each other in ways we may not always recognize.
Just as art imitates life, advertising imitates art. And some art, in turn, imitates advertising. Of course, none of this would have been possible if not for the birth of consumerism. Consumerism has been defined as “the consumption of goods without a compelling or essential requirement.” It adheres to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. We’ve got food. We’ve got shelter. Now what? We’re bored and we want to feel good about ourselves. So we buy things.
This concept has been credited to Edward Bernays, a nephew and disciple of Freud, who linked sexual needs and desires to consumer products in the 1920s. Since these early days, advertising has often been accomplished through a visual means. One of the earliest commercial illustrators was Norman Rockwell, who created ads for Jell-O and Orange Crush. His Four Freedoms series was used to promote war bonds during World War II.
It doesn’t appear that many people questioned this practice, for decades, until the counter-culture of the 1960s. At that point, artists and activists were questioning everything and the world was in a general upheaval. Art really came into its own as an expression for new ideas. New media, even, were presented.
Notably, Andy Warhol had a lot to say about consumerism through his art. He mocked mass production with his Campbell’s soup cans, his iconic duplication picture of Marilyn Monroe. He closed a gap between art and commerce by bringing commerce into the artistic conversation. He immortalized American brands like Campbell’s and Tide. Interestingly, he also appeared in a television commercial in Japan, in an advertisement for TDK cassettes.