Advertisements are part of our day-to-day lives, even though we don’t typically give them much thought. But, giving an advertisement a new platform for expression can transform it into something extraordinary.
Similar to how Andy Warhol gave Campbell’s soup a new level of fame and consideration, the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity presents advertisements from around the world on the proverbial silver screen.
Despite the growing use of Netflix, television recording devices and online streaming, through which commercials can be completely bypassed, people still actively seek advertisements out.
Perhaps what appeals is the freedom to choose which advertisements to view. In our age of YouTube, advertisements have become a form of entertainment, an evolution that speaks to our current state of mind. We have more things to do and less time to do them, and the Internet is a readily available escape.
Advertisements continue to evolve, and many of those screened at Cannes don’t reveal the brand until the final second. These ads move the viewer, and tell a story to purposefully evoke emotions.
Indeed, it’s amazing how quickly we can be moved. But, unlike many other stories, advertisements are, no matter how emotionally compelling or resonant, still trying to sell us something. Aren’t we being manipulated to connect the feelings stirred in us to the brand in question? Even if the idea seems to stand on its own, even if we are moved to laughter or tears, the ad is still an ad, and still trying to sell us something.
I suspect this matters more and less to different people. Sometimes the story loses its impact when the brand is revealed, and even where the meaning is compelling, when an advertisement tugs on your emotions it can make you skeptical of what the company is selling.
And yet, this doesn’t necessarily make an advertisement’s story any less provocative.
Just like films, advertisements can amuse, inspire, shock and motivate. They can connect you to people around the world, and they can transport you to another time, another place, or even another age.
The Festival of Creativity plays this January at the Princess Cinema.