Has the Anti-Hero Come to Advertising's Rescue?

Edward Boches Professor of Advertising, Boston University

Posted on March 4th 2014

Has the Anti-Hero Come to Advertising's Rescue?

It appears a take-no-prisoners attitude is emerging as the latest advertising trend. First Barbie. Now Cadillac. The two most talked about, written about ads of the last month share an in your face “I don’t really care what you think,” approach to selling that seems inspired by the likes of Ray Donovan or Patty Hewes. Remember the days of Bill Cosby?

They seem to declare, “This is who we are, you know who you are, let’s get together. Screw the rest of them if they can’t take a joke.”

Frank Sinatra would should be singing in his grave.

Some students and I shared thoughts on Barbie a week or so ago. So let’s focus on Cadillac and its new Poolside spot.

In short, it’s brilliant.

While most advertising plays it safe, Poolside does not play it safe.

While most advertising avoids controversy, Poolside seeks controversy.

While most advertising is instantly forgettable, Poolside lodges itself in your memory.

And while all advertising struggles valiantly to portray genuine human truth but fails far too often, Poolside captures truth with a pitch perfect persona and representation.

I know I’m late to this conversation, so there’s no need to rehash all that’s been said. But a couple of points are worth noting.

First, this is not a commercial about American pride or about celebrating the one percent as some early reviews suggested.  It’s a commercial about the Cadillac owner and the type of person who belongs in that club. That’s a big part of what brands are all about, yes?

Read the full post at Creativity Unbound.



Edward Boches

Professor of Advertising, Boston University

I’m Edward Boches, Professor of the Practice of Advertising at Boston University’s College of Communications where I teach advertising creativity with an emphasis on emerging and digital media. I am also the part-time Chief Innovation Officer (formerly Chief Creative Officer and Chief Social Media Officer) at Mullen, an Ad Age A-List agency I’ve helped build and lead for nearly 30  years.

I consider it my job to constantly hack the system in an effort to inspire change and get people to embrace the new technologies, platforms and consumer behaviors necessary to create cool and relevant ideas for clients and users.

Oh yeah, I'm also a copywriter, dad, husband, road cyclist and a board member at Boulder Digital Works and also at Spring Partners, the people who invented the cool Springpad app.

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