Being an Adman myself, I can understand Banksy’s ire at the profession.
It can at times be a hollow one filled with it’s fair share of insecure individuals who are over-compensating for that insecurity with imaginary renditions of beauty, society, family anything we aspire towards. Working in advertising you’re always told the one secret to success is flexible morals. Seems like a sad way to make a living!
Advertising makes creatives a tad bitter too, cause it’s perhaps one of the few creative arts where the creator is not free to do as he/she pleases. Rather they must take instructions and perform to someone else’s subjective preferences i.e. The Client.
Artists, Musicians, Film Makers have the majority of creative control and final say on their work. In advertising that final control lies with the client and as you can imagine it breeds frustration and resentment.
In advertising’s defense though, I think banksy is giving it too much credit for influencing the public at large’s perceptions. IMHO there is a backlash to advertising and it’s messages. We have or are soon reaching a point where advertising messages are droned out and no longer the influencers they once were. Societal norms are changing and admen are no longer defining them but chasing them.
The credibility of advertisers has taken quite a beating in this media messaged generation, nothing a brand puts out is taken as gospel. In fact it is put to intense scrutiny and suspicion cause consumers are savvy enough to realize that a brand’s not paying for (media) messages that do not serve it’s purpose. Dove never ran a negative testimonial, Car companies never publicize their failures, FMCG companies don’t talk about the health hazards.
But now they all are – Coke has an ad that speaks about it’s initiative to control diabetes in America, McDonalds wants to answer questions about its food, Dove wants women to be themselves, the list is long and Hooray for that!