Two years ago, I wrote “Advertising: A source of insecurity”. I talked about deceit and manipulation in the advertising world, and how it had a negative influence to my well-being. At the time, I still felt like I was an outsider, looking in. Now, having been in the wonderful world of advertising for a couple of years, I continuously get an insider’s perspective on how advertising can be used to create change in a positive way.
Thanks to my career in advertising, I get to have a better sense of what’s real and what isn’t. I think more logically, even whilst being the millennial that I am. Stereotypical millennials are known to be impulsive, naïve, and “believe” everything they see on the Internet. We, as a generation, are seen as individuals who tend to make decisions based on how we feel instead of using logic; but does this really only apply to millennials?
My generation isn’t well represented practically everywhere. I’ve seen many-a-video, and many-a-meme about how we’re the laziest, most selfish, and most entitled generation thus far; and for good reasons too. But whether or not you agree, there are still a lot of millennials who want to change the advertising world for good. Given that perhaps, most of us millennials caused this chaos in the first place, individuals such as author, former Cosmo editor, and feminist: Amy Odell, (as we millennials say it) “shook” the industry with her unapologetic take on content advertising. Her book “Tales from the Back Row”, has given its readers an insight on the dark side of fashion, self-promotion, and the always-have-been unrealistic ideals and beauty standards in the fashion industry.
Perhaps something snapped within Odell, or maybe it’s something she’s wanted to do all along, but at one point, she said “this is too much” and should be exposed. Those of us who are “woke” (yes, I know I’m peppering millennial terms here) know how nasty advertising can be–especially fashion advertising. It affects women, men, and non-binary individuals in more ways than one.
But even as a rookie in the advertising game, it didn’t take me long to realise what the good, the bad, the ugly, and the truth really are in our industry.
The good thing about advertising in 2018 is that advertisers have (more than ever) access to almost every advertising platform there is. #convenientAF
The bad thing about advertising in 2018 is that, again, advertisers have (more than ever) access to almost every advertising platform there is. This access gives manipulative and deceitful companies and individuals a voice. One with which, if they pay enough, can be the loudest voice we hear on a daily basis.
The ugliest thing about access to advertising is that the human brain is programmed to see mistakes, first and foremost. We tend to spot minor mistakes instead of appreciating major successes. That’s just how our brains work. Which is why, the ads that appeal to us most often project the message “this is what you’re missing” or “this is what’s wrong with you”.
The truth is, you always have a choice. A choice to see advertising as a mere suggestion for products and services you might like. A choice to say no to the kind of advertising that tells you what you should be, who you should look like, and how you should respond to certain things.
The absolute truth is, we can always change our perception. Exposing this truth, as Odell and many before her have, can create enough change that empowers, promotes positivity, and affects people’s well-being for good.