The Art of Commercials
Updated: May 27, 2022
A lot of people don't appreciate the art that is commercials. Commercials are comparable to the pests of the media world.
We all know Chester the Cheetos Cheetah and the Geico Gecko. We know the O'Reilly Auto Parts jingle and the JG Wentworth jingle. Remember when the entire world lost their minds when M&M gifted us with a sequel to their 1996 Christmas commercial? They're so memorable that these pesky commercials have become a part of pop culture. So why do we click skip ad on YouTube and prefer streaming services that have practically made commercials disappear?
I can't give you an entire history on the importance and relevance of commercials because, frankly, I don't know it that well to speak on it with much expertise. I know that commercials are only ever celebrated and anticipated when it comes to the Super Bowl. Super Bowl ads are then discussed and rewatched thousands of times in the weeks to come. Why do these commercials matter any more than the other ones not played during the Super Bowl?
Here's my theory.
We all know we're in a time of immediate gratification. We turn on YouTube because we want t watch videos, not commercials. We turn on Netflix because we want to entertain ourselves, and commercials are not entertainment; they're marketing meant to sell you something. The only people who wanted commercials to exist were the people making them. Unless someone needed to be informed about a product or service, then commercials were just the thing that let you run to the bathroom before the TV show restarted.
We didn't watch commercials because they were boring. Companies weren't putting that much effort into them, resulting in monotonous lectures. Commercials were forced and silly. When the infomercial became a thing, that forcefulness was even worse. It was all about driving up sales.
I've never actually seen the Super Bowl and have only kept track of the halftime show and commercials for the last few. The Super Bowl is for football lovers, music lovers, and people who keep up with celebrities. Of course, this means it's the perfect opportunity to plug your company and get the word out there. Again, I don't know much about the origins of the Super Bowl, and I'm not going to pretend that I do. However, I think events like the Super Bowl contributed to the shift in the intent behind commercials.
At some point, commercials shifted from overtly trying to sell something to simply creating brand recognition. The idea is that even if you never used said product or service when the time came when you needed it, you would instantly think of that specific company. This shift and the rise of social media made companies work harder. Companies finally realized that brand recognition leads to an increase in sales.
That's when commercials started getting interesting.
Jingles and mascots became the norm. Mcdonald's hit the jackpot when it comes to jingles and mascots. Mcdonald's doesn't even use the original vocals anymore, yet everyone knows it. From what I can tell, education Connection is not a massive company, but everyone still knows the song from their commercial. I know I can recite that song by heart.
Commercials became entertaining. In the same way that once you saw a cool show or movie, you would share it with your friend, people started doing that with commercials. Commercials are funny and cool enough now to share with friends. They have celebrities now, and they even introduce pop culture into the commercial itself. They reference memes, social media, and celebrity drama. It's genius.
Commercials are art now. Art meant for marketing and sales but still art. Sometimes commercials can still be pests, but art is always up for interpretation.