This is an original article from Chris Moerdyk,
Here is an article
It seems to me that South Africans don't hate advertising - they just hate bad advertising.
Show us a great ad on TV and we talk about it at the drop of a hat. At dinner parties great ads take precedence over politics, taxi drivers, crime and yes, even rugby if they are really and truly magnificent ads. Well, that's the way it used to be.
Nowadays I don't hear too many people talking about advertising at all. In fact rugby, cricket, crime, taxis, insurance claims and the absorption quality of disposable nappies take precedence over discussions about advertising.
Could it be that we have simply fallen out of love with ads? That we now have too much to think about and talk about without having to resort to that great dinner party ice-breaker - "have you seen that new ad for?."
Or is it because advertising these days is simply rubbish?
Well, interestingly enough when a bunch of top advertising industry people got together a few months ago to choose South Africa's all-time greatest TV ads, not one of their top half dozen ads was produced or shown on TV in the past five years.
And I'll bet that if the South African public had to choose their top ten best advertisements not one of them would have been made in the past ten years.
Just where have all the great ads gone or heaven's sake? Ads like the BMW "mouse"., ISM's "Elephants," those great Cardies ads and all that cheeky irreverent stuff from Nando's?
Well, it seems to me that there are a number of reasons why we're not seeing any great ads or talking about them even if there are some good ads out there.
First of all the whole advertising environment has become very cluttered. The average consumer is now exposed to about 10 000 advertising messages a day and I guess for a lot of us that's so much overkill we're just not noticing them.
Research from Europe is also showing that upwards of 70% of TV viewers just don't take any notice of commercial breaks anymore.
And then we have radio which for ages now has assaulted our ears with the most pathetic advertising imaginable.
Of course that grumpy old doyen of South African Advertising, John Farquhar, who is the editor of the country's most read advertising magazine, AdVantage, believes that the reason most of our advertising is rubbish is because the people who dream them up live on another planet and are completely out of touch with the rest of the solar system let alone just Earth.
Another view I have often put forward is that the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) went through a phase some time ago where it banned ads right left and centre even if complaints came from one individual whacko, just to prove that they were doing their job properly.
The ASA is not nearly as ban-happy anymore but the perception still exists among ad agencies that ads that nobody would have worried about ten years ago, will be banned at the drop of a hat these days. And now that clients have started telling ad agencies that if ads are banned, the ad agencies are going to have to pick up the cost, a lot of agencies have either just decided to play it extra safe or have brought lawyers into their creative teams. Which in terms of creativity and pushing the boundaries is like tossing a horny dog into the arctic.
I must say I miss those social gatherings - those dinner parties, braai's and uncomfortable corporate cocktail parties where you don't know anyone and knew that you were guaranteed to be the life and soul of the party by being able to trot out a string of great ads.
Not sure I'd like to risk doing that these days. I have the feeling that talking about ads at a dinner party these days would be a bit like discussing in graphic detail, the sphincter muscle of an incontinent hyena.