Is there truth in advertising? There are a lot of truths in this ad, the first ever run by the New York Times during the Oscars, and the publications first brand campaign in over ten years.
The Times simply used the phrase, “The truth is…”, which we hear every day, and attached to it all the words that we hear come after it. They manage to do this while being un-attached to the message.
Cadillac, in this ad for the 2017 Oscars, conveyed their version of ‘truth’.
To me, this ad from Cadillac demonstrates everything advertising excels at. My own personal thought is that advertising is the highest form of communication. In anywhere from fifteen to sixty seconds these ads will effect, engage and entertain while aiming to inform and persuade. At the highest levels, these ads display the latest and greatest in persuasion technique from the most successful minds in the business.
They hit all the buttons, the stereotypes, the myths, the collective agreement we have about what is important and meaningful to us. They know what motivates us. Inspires us. And it isn’t facts or logic. It’s emotion, feeling, aspiration.
Without coming down on any one discernible side, Cadillac communicates a message of involvement and unity, associated with their product, a car. They mention nothing about the technical aspects of the product. It’s about how the product will make you feel. This is the brilliance of advertising.
It is so effective, millions, sometimes billions, are spent in this effort. That’s because if it works, the company involved stands to make many times that in revenue. I do believe that some of these companies are trying to be sincerely positive in their messages.
But, in a Dark World, an Opposite World, if people responded to a different, less inspirational message, ads would reflect that, too.
After all, ads are just us reflected back at ourselves. What we want, think we are, hope to become; all this is exploited by advertising. Advertising is the art of truth manipulation. Because, truth is what we think it is. And what we think is emotion based.
A good question to ask is, what is the difference between truth and reality?