Creative individuals that aspire to contribute meaningfully to the complex and ever-changing world of advertising are faced with many new challenges in today’s society. The rise of the internet, freelance graphic designers, social media platforms, and digital media have all changed the landscape in dramatic ways, and the old school of advertising and marketing is being edged out. Although most evolutions of philosophy that eliminate Old Guard mentality are considered good and progressive, this is not necessarily the case with advertising. The high-speed of modern life has forced advertisers to cheapen the quality of their work, and they often resort to flashy, gimmicky, or controversial themes in order to gain shock value, rather than inform a consumer or inspire them in any way.
Advertising is a powerful aspect of our lives, because it demands that we implicitly place our trust in strangers, something we rarely do naturally. We feel comfortable asking for advice from friends and family, or allowing professionals to take care of our mental and physical health, but advertising basically tells us, “Trust the things I am saying, although you’ll never meet me, and I am being paid by this company to make their product seem superior to any other option.” The trust that we used to feel for certain companies has been undermined to a large degree by false advertising, misinformation circulated on the internet, and our inability to parse statements of truth and fiction in the massive tide of sensory data that we experience in every moment of our lives.
There will always be some element of bias to advertising; that is an unavoidable truth of the industry. However, the integrity that used to define the leading companies and individuals in marketing has not been upheld by the nameless, unaccountable sources of information and influence that now populate our sphere of experience. Lee Clow speaks of this growing problem quite often in interviews, and it clearly pains him to see how truly talented people creating brilliant work are being passed over for cheaper and lower quality work.
This forces people like Clow, who is still the Global Director of Media Arts for TBWA, to consider appealing to the lowest common denominator and competing with some of those lower-quality advertisements, just to remain relevant and active. However, no matter what the pressure may be to go quicker, smaller, cheaper, and easier, Clow is dedicated to telling his stories, and has spent four decades refusing to compromise his artistic vision. Learn more about the various challenges in advertising only at the University Canada West, one of the best universities in Canada, offering various business and management related programs.