Is Advertising Art?

Oh Grand and Glorious Southern Guru, I am perplexed. What ails thee, my peabrained little grasshopper? My sleep has been short, my walls have been climbed, my hair has been pulled.

I must know the difference between advertising and high art. Oh Great Creator, please give me the answer.

Stir no longer, little vacuous one. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and yes, advertising can be high art.

But Holiest of the Holy, whilst I acknowledge there is a role for subjectivity in the appreciation of art, and that art and advertising similarly use form, colour and symbol to convey messages, and that both can be aesthetically pleasing and accessible, and that both share the goal of changing behavior and attitudes, and that both often highlight the tension between reality and ideals and can shape aesthetic tastes, does not an adequate answer to my question depend upon a precise definition of the term art?

Are there not different degrees of creativity and originality? Are there not different types of art?

Surely Majestic One, advertising is not "high" art, but rather popular, propagandistic art?

Not so, little inchworm. Art is a function of apprehension, ergo, there is no difference between "high" and "low" art.

But Mighty Aphrodite, do not ads see the world only through a blinkered lens: as products and services, as target markets and audiences? Do they not promote only consumerism and uphold only the status quo? Are not their motives restricted by budgets and deadlines, and by the necessity of pushing product?

How can ads experiment with ideas for their own sake when fettered by this capitalist manacle?

Do ads not craft specific messages for specific audiences at specific times?

Is not their goal to elicit singular responses?

Do they not aim to please, to arrest the intelligence and to allay our fears with easy solutions, and are they not primarily concerned with positive reactions?

And does not the prerequisite of mass appeal demand mediocrity? Does not art allow for a delight in, and the free play of, ideas for their own sake? Truly outstanding art rarely secures immediate popularity, n'est-ce pas Mon Dieu Seigneur?

Does not art encourage many ways of looking at the world?

Is it not often purposefully ambiguous and open to conflicting interpretation?

Surely, oh Towering One, artists do not worship audiences in the way advertisers do?

Do they not intentionally break boundaries, counter the status quo, and question accepted beliefs?

Many spend decades deconstructing society, transcending political, economic and religious systems, do they not?

You listen not, my pint-sized parvenu. Art is in the eye of the beholder. Hence an advertisement, even if it's only one in a million, can be high art.

But Lord of the Rings, is it not the sale that motivates the creation of advertisements?

Does this not put advertising solely in the realm of the shallow and material?

And thusly, are not ads only original in the context of commerce? And furthermore, did not the great Canadian literary critic Northrop Frye suggest that ads are farcical, ironic and trivial (and that their prodigious power rests here precisely because we view them as a joke, without analyzing their bountiful effects)?

In short, Monsieur Le President, are not advertisements viewed primarily with scorn?

And does not true art inspire awe?

And does it not create new ways of looking at the world and increase our depth of understanding about the meaning of life?

And, as such, does it not reside squarely in the realm of the deep and spiritual?

And does not great art burst forth with such stunning originality that it changes the way we see the world and ourselves?

And are great artists, those rare geniuses, not moved by more than the simple desire for coin, and do they not dwell deeply on the profound questions of man's universal condition?

And is not the equating of "high" art with advertising symptomatic of decadent, hollow, bankrupt, violent societies, which value material goods, "happiness" and facile solutions above all else?

And as such, All Knowing One, is this not an equation we should actively oppose?

Get not thy knickers in a knot wee Gordian. Your philosophizing incites me to slumber.

Nigel Beale is an Ottawa, Canada based writer.

In The News:

Advertise  Village Voice

Create A Killer Brochure: 9 Steps to the Perfect Piece

If you are creating a brochure, make sure you follow... Read More

How to Make Your Claims Believable

When you hear claims like??Best Lawnmower in the country?Absolute Lowest... Read More

The Ultimate, ?Must-Have? Home-Based Business for YOU

The Ultimate, "Must-Have" Home-Based Business for YOU a Underemployed, Unemployed,... Read More

Wheres Me Pot of Gold and Lucky Charms?

We already know this from our history books. If you... Read More

Advertising on a Budget -- Part 3: Frequency, Frequency, Frequency

This is the third article of a three-part series. I'm... Read More

Sex in Advertising: Does it Sell?

We're surrounded by advertisements that desperately compete for our attention.... Read More

Cable Ads 5 Bucks!

Cable has grown from 13 houses connected together in 1948... Read More

6 Must-Have Elements of a Powerful Brochure

Most brochures that businesses put out today end up doing... Read More

8 Low Cost Ways To Advertise, Promote and Market Your Business

We all are looking for ways to market our businesses... Read More

3 Inside Secrets To Making You Richer Using Direct Mail!

Making money using direct mail isn't easy. And anyone who... Read More

Direct Response Advertising; Radio vs TV

Radio advertising vs. television advertisingMany new advertisers assume that they... Read More

Humor in Advertising

Many of the most memorable ad campaigns around tend to... Read More

Information Gathering & Delivery May Never Be The Same!

Give Us The Bottom Line!If you are like most people,... Read More

Bad Seduction - Advertising Techniques That Dont Work

I just read some advertising suggestions on an Internet marketing... Read More

5 Tips for Hot Yellow Pages Ads

Yellow Pages advertising is one of the most popular forms... Read More

HackeD

hey admin thIS website Is HaCKEd by Unkn0wn_hax0r... Read More

Boost Headline Believability With Specifics

Don't use vague generalities in your headlines. Be as specific... Read More

Persistant Advertising Will Do No Harm!

From my experience, I've been on many discussion groups and... Read More

The Graphic Problem

Digital printing has revolutionized the sign industry. Current printers can... Read More

10 Ways to Advertise Your Business For Free!

At some point many small business owners are left with... Read More

What Makes Advertising Successful?

MANY INDIVIDUAL ELEMENTS COME INTO PLAY MAKING A SUCCESSFUL AD:... Read More

10 Tips to Use Giveaways Effectively

Walk around any trade or consumer show and you will... Read More

Tips On Writing a Successful Ad

When knowledge is based on truth it is powerful!When it... Read More

Why Your Ads Aren?t Working

The president of a manufacturing company recently asked me, "Why... Read More

Turn Your Ad Copy into a Goldmine!

Today, more than ever, it is crucial that your ad... Read More