Humanizing Advertising

Dennis Ryan, Chicago Advertising, Element 79It’s the little things that make you happy during the workweek.  And approval from our Banquet client for this print ad makes me happy.  It’s not outrageous, it doesn’t court controversy, but this ad does counterpoint a wry headline and a shot of a little boy praying at the dinner table.  And so many brand people would decide that it’s just easier not to go there and insist on some other execution.  Which might be fine, it just wouldn’t be this.  More than likely they would insist on overcorrecting with something inoffensively drawn from the middle of the road, and thus less noticeable and memorable.  Which is the real problem with too much advertising today.

I don’t know if you pray; I do–as a Notre Dame football fan, it’s kind of a requirement.  I pray about all kinds of things; most days just in thanks that in this fortunate country, I can make my commute without anyone shooting at me.

But in the stylized world of advertising, we usually leave little behaviors like mealtime prayer out because it can be ‘polarizing.’  Same goes for strong regional accents, dented cars, and  pets that shed.  Idiosyncrasies like these don’t square with a smooth, idealized image.  Happily, the trend toward greater authenticity encourages representing real life, imperfections and all; it just feels true.  And that engages people.  I have never cast anyone with a luxuriant mutton chop/mustache combo, but people seemed to really take notice of the aggressively offbeat Jimmy McMillan.

For all its surface mundanity, our daily life and the people that populate it are wildly original and infinitely varied.  Finding ways to capture even a portion of that helps keep the ‘life’ in ‘lifestyle’ ads.


By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


3 thoughts on “Humanizing Advertising

  1. Eric Wormsley says:

    The little boy in this ad is actually my son. We were also surprised that Banquet was being so bold and we love the ad as well. What magazine actually featured the ad because we never actually saw it in print?

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