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Banksy

I just got back from an epic three-week trip to the U.K. and Europe. London, Edinburg, Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam. It was fantastic. When I travel for vacation, I’m pretty good at switching off the work mode, at least consciously. But I’ve realized I’m noticing advertising in other countries because it’s obviously such a regular part of my life as a profession and of course as a consumer in America we are advertised to non-stop. So, I notice ads while on vacation.

Nobody knows for sure how many times per day a person is exposed to advertising and branding messages, but estimates range from 2,000 to 20,000 per day. My guess is its way closer to 20,000. I’ve seen another stat that says we are exposed to advertising every twelve seconds. That’s a lot, but still not as much as men supposedly think about sex. So, us dudes have that going for us, which is nice.

I admit sometimes it’s exhausting to be marketed to non-stop. But I think it’s being done much better today than the old days when disruption was considered the way to deliver a message. Nowadays, if your advertising is relevant, timely and not overly repetitive, it tends to be well received.

In London, I was overwhelmed by the magnificence of the graffiti art on walls throughout the city, especially in the Shoreditch area. As I was wandering around specifically to seek out wall art, I ran into a woman from New York City that actually teaches a class at a university on graffiti art – how cool is that? I learned of a location that still has a Banksy so she tagged along with me as we invented our own culture art walk.

This woman told me that there is a Banksy exhibit in Amsterdam, which seems to go against everything he believes in, but sure enough, he and Dali were being shown at MOCO. And I was going to Amsterdam in a week, so I booked a ticket online.

I don’t know much about Banksy (not a lot of people do), but one of his clear opinions on life is regarding the horrors of advertising.

He has a point, but first of all, this is my profession! And I think these days, the best advertising campaigns are the ones that do indeed enable engagement and back and forth between the advertiser and consumer. Digital and mobile has certainly made that more of a possibility. True, an ad on a bus is there whether the driver behind it wants to see it or not. Isn’t Banksy doing the same thing though? Putting his message wherever he wants (if he can get away with it), whether we want to see it or not. His stuff is considered art but there is no doubt he is sending a message with his work just as much as our clients are with their ad campaigns.

I wonder how Banksy feels about all the pink signs advertising his exhibit that were posted on poles throughout the city of Amsterdam?

Personally, to each their own. I can understand people that feel over-advertised to and I appreciate people that are receptive to a timely, relevant message. Sometimes advertising is art too. I will say, there are tons of creatives in advertising agencies around the world that would love to do some of the cool things Banksy has done, but advertisers don’t have the ability to say fuck it and put their stuff wherever they want, even if it comes down a day later. Banksy would hate to hear it, but he’d be one helluva Creative Director.

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