We know that the advertising world has lost some of its magic and mystery. It is no longer one after the other as old-fashioned as portrayed in Mad Men, nor at frequent lunches, dinners, and industry events. But a Twitter thread has gone viral suggesting that things are worse than this. The industry seems to be losing its creative spark – and the examples come back up.
The thread consists of a series of ‘then and now’ comparisons that place classic ads from the past with more recent, far less creative ads from the same brand. From Absolute Vodka to Apple, Porsche, and Louis Vuitton, there seem to be examples ad creatives aren’t trying anymore (for some examples of really creative ads, see our pick of the best print ads of all time).
I’ve received multiple requests to make my “How did it start / How’s it going” ad series single thread. So here it is. https://t.co/c5FQmGesr210 October 2022
John Long, a former executive creative director at advertising giant Ogilvy and now at LG’s in-house advertising agency, began sharing ad comparisons on Twitter in 2020, captioning each tweet with the phrase, ‘How did it start/ How is it going’. His posts were so flooded with comments that he has now put them in a disastrous thread that sparked an apparent drought of creative ideas in a recent ad.
The difference is evident in the level of concepts and imagery used, and particularly in the copy. Long past campaigns are juxtaposed with new endeavors with sharp, witty copy that are downright flat and monotonous. In the chosen examples, it appears that the advertisements have become more literal. Instead of trying to capture the audience’s imagination with a surprising concept or phrase, ads simply show a product, with copy often sounding like an idea. Even Apple comes in for criticism, with Long comparing its Muhammad Ali Think Different ad to a recent ad for a MacBook Air that only shows the laptop and its price.
The thread has generated massive debate, with voices from both sides being heard. Some agree with Long that the ads have become monotonous and have shared their own ‘how did it start / how’s it going’ comparison. But others think the criticism is unfair, pointing out that some of the ads were compared in very different contexts – comparing print magazine campaigns to websites and social media banners. However, Long argues that “what a person sees from a brand creates a brand.”
DiRT’s chief creative officer Nick Childs replied: “I think we’ve been shown simply and completely how far we’ve fallen.” How easily we gave up. It’s time to push back. More words, better pictures, richer crafts.”
how it started / how is it going pic.twitter.com/GiR43TEBPv6 October 2022
how it started / how is it going pic.twitter.com/JMwt87upYL10 October 2022
How it started / How is it going. pic.twitter.com/WPM9dGYPNV18 January 2022
how it started / how is it going pic.twitter.com/kiQNGkICPg7 October 2022
Long’s point is interesting, and we wonder if any steps have been taken towards more literal, and more professional, advertising. But we suspect that budget is also a big factor. Many older campaigns that have been in use for a long time compared to them had larger budgets, which in the current COVID-19 inflationary economic situation of 2022, many brands are probably not going to spend on a social media campaign or on copy. online stores.
The debate reminds us a bit of the argument that people are all becoming the same. While some argue that the fault is a lack of creativity, changing trends also play a part. Many of the scathing ads Long shared were from print magazines that don’t hold as much advertising importance as they once did. Readers will spend more time viewing ads in print than online. However, we still see creative print advertising today – as we recognized in the 10 awards in our own creative block in our print advertising category.