The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

So What Does Your Advertising Say About Your Country …

So I saw this quote recently and I admit I found it very interesting.

Yes, I know there are flaws with it … from being a generalised statement to being dependent on the media you individually engage with … however if you put that aside and look at it from the perspective of mainstream communication, I do think there’s something in it.

Which begs the question …

If you were to really look at the ads trying to grab your attention today, what do you think they are saying about the values, attitude and aspirations of the country you live in.

I’m genuinely interested to get your perspective. Thank-you.

22 Comments so far
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Is it me or have you run this post before? I’m sure you have which, depending on the answer, is very scary for one of us.

To answer, I would say our ads communicate America loves convenience, safety and spending money on credit.

Comment by Pete

It’s a good quote by the way. Even if I have read it on here before. ; )

Comment by Pete

you forgot dying and every fucker trying to be younger than they are. oh and lovers of truly shit jokes. really, really fucking shit jokes.

Comment by andy@cynic

Now you’ve got me nervous. I don’t think I have but by you mentioning it, I’m now not so sure. I’ve looked and can’t find it so let’s just pretend this conversation never happened and move on. Deal?

Comment by Rob

seriously campbell, that quote might have worked 30 years ago but with globalization every fucking country is shoving out the same ad bile as every other country. is commieland that different to america? more noodles and family togetherness shit i guess but is it that fucking different?

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by DH

OK … that’s a fair comment. Bugger.

Comment by Rob

I’m guessing that most Chinese advertisements focus on holidays.

Comment by John


Comment by DH

American men also seem to suffer a lot from ED. The marketing departments way to make erectile distinction not sound like erectile dysfunction. Must be the same guys who decided calling Kentucky Fried Chicken, KFC would make all their shit instantly healthy.

Comment by DH

Targetting is getting very precise these days.

Comment by John

The elderly and cholesterol chasers?

Comment by Bazza

Hahahaha … I saw one of those ads on a bloody plane. And the wives of course look so much younger than the men and then – the final scene – shows the hotel door closing in the hope the viewer starts imagining all the stuff going on behind that door.

And then they log on to ,,,

Comment by Rob

Here in Oz it seems to be all about money:

Ads for mortgages.
Ads for people (and apps) who’ll find you a better mortgage.
Ads for credit cards (zero interest on balance transfers).
Ads for people (and apps) who’ll find you a better card.
Ads for personal loans.
Ad for nasty payday lenders, disguised by whimsical brand names and ‘funny’ ads (Nimble and Wallet Wizard being the most egregious).
Last but not least – ads for debt recovery services to rescue you from the consequences of our spending.

I get a strong sense the whole economy is about to go tits up.

Comment by Ian Gee

Interesting perspective but as Andrew said, maybe one more relevant in the past than today. Or is it more a case of the nuance of the advertising highlighting the ideals of the nation?

More importantly, are you back among the living?

Comment by Lee Hill

I always liked that quote and found it to be (much oversimplified version of) truth. I believe effective advertising can give a clue to a dominant cultural archetype of a country. However, the same is true for other pop culture artifacts. What I found the most insightful was studying fairytales, myths and legends. I guess advertising is not much different in that respect.

Comment by Jelena Veselinovic

I find it interesting how UK ads have lost their wit a charm.
At the same time our culture has.
Meanwhile, taking a look at our Christmas ads, over sugared with sentimentality, looking to make us feel something, show how much British folks still need an excuse to break our social awkwardness…we love schmaltz in culture because we can’t bring ourselves to be like that in real life

Comment by northern

That’s interesting … it seems to be following the path of American television, where the reactions of contestants seemed to always be excessive, almost as if that was the only way they could prove they were ‘moved’.

Subtlety, charm, intrigue seems to have been lost in favour of overt statements of the obvious. Or the strategy.

Comment by Rob

There was an interesting piece (that i now can’t find) in one of The Economist’s co-publications that highlighted how modern story-telling (think Sherlock) emphasised the internal narrative of family realtionships rather than the external narraive of the whodunnit.

Comment by John

When did you become Faris? Ha.

Comment by Rob

Can’t he type either?

Comment by John

I had to rewrite this reply four times after a couple of gut checks, but I feel like out of touch American brands (A LOT) infer that their people are easily fed up with daily life and that these people think they or their family are the centers of the universe so everything needs to be convenient and better (faster, stronger). Then these ads are polished up to appear like problems need a cure-all solution and then they jam like 7 messages in one for a cluster fuck sandwich.

On a positive note, the hyper-awareness of certain ads has shown that brands can acknowledge that their audience isn’t cow-eyed morons…

I also couldn’t agree more with a previous comment that mentioned how majority of American ads are defined on shit humor. Probably because most brands want things to be “light-hearted” because that’s as far off their leash they want to go – stay within their lines and pray for ROI.

Comment by greg

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