A Christmas Story by Charles Rebel Stanton
Comfort and joy may have been in short supply this year, despite many of us forced back into our own comfort zones for rather too long. It's been clear that for brands, too, communications have been created with something of a "walking on eggshells" mentality, with concern over tone-deafness and misreading the mood of the nation.
This somewhat restrictive approach, worrying about getting it wrong rather than determination to get it right, has led to a lot of bland, joyless and strangely soulless advertising and other communications.
Maybe it's time to stop thinking about advertising's role to reflect the world as it is, and start thinking about its role to entertain and present the world as it could be. Or another world completely.
Joy is a good start, but joy always feels a little bit sanitised and homogenised, like a choir of over-zealous evangelists. Especially when it pops up in a marketing plan which eulogises over making each touchpoint a "joyful connection".
I hope next year, advertising can dust down its entertainer's glad rags. Not merely joyful, but bringing us belly-laughs, mischief and mirth. Witty repartee, farce, a subversive smile. Whimsy, euphoria, glee and giggles.
That's how to sell stuff, in the end.