Friday, December 2, 2011

Commercial Art

By Embra King

Call me crazy, but I love commercials.

I love them between shows, on billboards and in magazines. When I was young, I used to go over to my friends' houses and spend hours looking through their magazines, no matter what the subject. Sure I would read the articles sometimes, but mostly I was admiring their layouts and ads that filled up most of their thin pages. When I go to the movies, I always make sure I get to the theater early, as to avoid missing the previews. If it wasn’t for those wonderfully crafted teasers before every show, I could hardly justify spending the twelve-dollar ticket price.

No, you didn’t read any of that wrong, I enjoy something that most Americans seem to openly grumble about. I just think it is because we are looking at things all wrong.

Advertising, when done well, is a wonderful art form that folds creative design, language, and economics into this beautiful, multi-layered piece of work. Companies and organizations of all sizes hire artists and writers to create powerful messages and a visual presence for their cause or product. Advertisers create beauty where there would only be grey. Ad agency’s are taking problems and solving them with art.

Not only do I find commercials and advertising to be an ongoing work of art, but I also enjoy them for chopping up TV shows. To me, most shows need commercials. A killer slowly opens the door to find the hero asleep and helpless in bed when suddenly, a commercial break. We are left on the edge of our seats. We cry, “No not now!” Our bodies tense up in anticipation for what lies at the end of the commercial block. Sure, if you have seen the commercials a hundred times before this time might be better spent using the restroom or grabbing a bowl of ice cream, but for me there is something special about seeing what others created in the spaces that companies have created for them.

Imagine a world without advertising, commercials, or branding. Sure, it is awesome to get out into nature and be surrounded by nothing but mountains and trees, but I can’t imagine a world in which cities aren’t filled with commercials, filled art. I think we all should take a closer look at the next commercial you see and just reflect on how many artists, writers, and salesmen it took to create the piece.

Check out the documentary Art & Copy to get a glimpse into the crazy world of advertising. It can be found on Netflix.

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