Regardless of the fact that the citizens of Boston seem to be way too jumpy for no reason, I'm so glad the Cartoon Network's "guerrilla advertising" misfired. We are being bombarded with unwanted ads and this, instead of making advertising better, sharper, more effective or entertaining, is making it worse, as you could all tell from the very underwhelming bunch of recent Superbowl ads. The advertising industry, which is where I earn my bread and butter, I should point out, is killing itself because it is trying to do too many things in too many places and except for some smart campaigns (like the new m&m campaign), is shooting itself in the foot in a major way. The creatives who come up with the ideas, now have to come up with ideas for a multitude of media and in my opinion, for the most part, the creativity is dissolved into substandard messages. People still have a certain fondness for ads that make them laugh, or identify or think, but if they are going to be attacked indiscriminately, they are bound to lose their affection. Now people are fighting to keep ads out of their sight.
Perversely, I couldn't be happier about it.
I go to these events to hear advertising gurus speak about future marketing, and experiential bla bla and guerrilla blublu and branded bloblo and I don't know what creeps me out the most: that if it was up to them they'd run ads in your dreams, or that they are totally oblivious to the Orwellian implications of their unbridled enthusiasm to cover every conceivable surface with ads, or even worse, to sneak the ads into your consciousness without your consent.
We, the consumers, the citizens, the humans, have an unspoken contract with ads. They are not content and they should never be. They are ads and we must recognize them as such. As long as I can identify that the content and motivation of a particular campaign is to sell stuff, I have no problem. Like, for instance, the BMW film series in the internet. But when they create TV series or movies or whatever that are huge commercials for a brand, that's when I cry foul. When they invade my space in public spaces with fake events, or put fake people in a bar drinking some drink to create buzz, it really turns me off, like it turns off Walter Kirn of New York Times Magazine.
I hear your pain, Walter.