Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Lifestyle Center Friday Night and an Advertising Epiphany

It was bound to happen, especially since I dissed the whole Lifestyle Center concept in my last post. I found myself enjoying good company, supporting a great cause, AND buying used items at, yes, you guessed it, a freakin' Lifestyle Center. And on a Friday night nonetheless.
I went to a preview party for a tag sale fundraiser for the local Junior League with a few friends. It was held in a shelled out space at the very same Lifestyle Center I referred to in my last post. I ended up with some good bargains, chatted with friends and at the end of the evening found myself rocking out to "Don't Stop Believing" by an 80's cover band. Not only dancing and having a blast but belting out all the words to the ubiquitous Journey song from my youth. Sidenote - why are those guys still touring? I hear that damn song more than I did when it was new. God, isn't there anything better to play on the radio these days? Anyway, while I was dancing in the middle of the Lifestyle Center, I realized I a Lifestyle Center. I briefly felt like I was on an episode of Weeds without the pot.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a great film named Art & Copy. If you have any interest in advertising, design, logos, Mad Men, or words in general, this movie is worth a watch. I never wanted to end up like Herb Tarlek, selling cars or, my worst nightmare, vacuums or mattresses. As much as I fought being a salesperson, that is really what I am. I've had two fairly direct sales jobs where I sold newspaper advertising. I had a hard time finding social value in selling an ad so I clung to the ad development as something noble in itself. When freedom was allowed I could work with a great designer and sometimes come up with something decent that I didn't hate.

While at my first ad job I found a quote that I still have stuck on the same sticky note on my fridge, "People read what's interesting, and sometimes it's an ad." This film helped reaffirm this notion for me. Remember the cool as hell VW ads from the 60's? Some of the Nike ads are simply brilliant whether or not you buy their shoes. I have one of their ads featuring Marilyn Monroe, again on my fridge, and it does make me feel good to be a girl.

While I clearly have issues with our consumer culture and that we're bombarded with advertising messages from the minute we open our eyes in the morning, if I think of these ads as someone's ideas as opposed to 'the man' trying to overtake my life and make me buy something I don't need, I feel a lot better about advertising in general. Because really, all of the ads are someone just trying to sell us on their idea, trying to get us as excited as they are about it. Sometimes they write an interesting ad for their idea and sometimes they don't but either way, the person's idea is behind it. Vacuum and mattress ads excluded, of course.

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