Deconstruction & Subversive Thinking in Advertising
Only a short while from two of the most important advertising events of the year, the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, ad-world is embroiled in its annual debates on what to expect, and as always there is an attempt to comprehend the staggering cost that comes with advertising during these broadcasts (this year a 30 second spot during the Super Bowl comes with a $5,000,000 price tag). While obviously these platforms for displaying creative work are only accessible to very select elite of the industry, people still look to them as the paragon of advertising and some of the most memorable and acclaimed advertising of all time stems from these events. These adverts have begun to demonstrate a standard of creativity that many in the industry aspire to, but there is also a lesson to be learned in the opportunity such platforms can allow for deconstructive or alternative ideas. When a format becomes familiar, it can become predictable, and then the chance to take a different approach arrives. A different approach may not suit everyone, but done correctly it can become as, if not even more memorable than what came before it. Droga5’s work for Newcastle Brown Ale as a postmodern parody of Super Bowl ads is a prime example of this idea. It wasn’t even technically a Super Bowl ad, but rather used the Super Bowl as a reference point for its own deconstructive approach. While being a subversive take on the notion of celebrity, media, and the sheer cost of Super Bowl commercials, it still ended up being declared the “best ad of 2014” by Gabriel Beltrone of AdWeek. This was a great achievement for the style of marketing that attempts to see opportunities for outside thinking within a large and expensive industry.
So, in the build-up to some of the major media events of the year, it is important for advertisers to remember that a simple subversive or deconstructive idea within an established platform, whether it is the Super Bowl or a newspaper print ad, can have an effect beyond anything else.