Truth stranger than fiction – Honest advertising

Despite many years working in marketing and communications, if there’s something I hate it’s advertising. Granted some adverts and campaigns are clever, funny, thought provoking… But the majority of the content that floods the mainstream media is totally shit. In the age of social media where people would rather pay for streaming services that eliminate all the noise, a vast majority of people still binge on free content – and as we all know nothing in life comes for free – which in turn has us anxiously hovering the cursor over the ‘Skip’ button as the timer counts down. Video content aside, the ad agencies and multinational corporations still infest our cities, roads and any exploitable surface with their logos, slogans and messages to get us to consume more.

99% of the billboards you see are distorting the truth about the product they are selling. Run an image search of ‘ happiness’ then add a catchy slogan that doesn’t really mean anything and you have a winning formula for shifting product to the masses. I grew up in an era when a shrewd business man by the name of Steve Rocco got so pissed off that one of the main skateboard publishers (Transworld) wouldn’t print his ad that he started his own magazine, Big Brother. It was Steve’s independent endeavour that sparked a slew of incredibly edgy, funny, honest and disturbing adverts from the World Industries camp (Rocco’s main company) and a handful of other like-minded individuals within the industry. Enough with the status quo and wholesome and neutral imagery of a fairly degenerate and unruly pastime. Skateboarding was wide open to true freedom of expression through incredible and memorable imagery. To note, Steve Rocco’s Big Brother Magazine was the catalyst of the hardcore prankster genre that took the world by storm through Jackass, Viva La Bam etc…

If I had a chance to advertise for a few of the biggest brands out there today, I would just tell the truth. The truth that these brands will never admit.

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