Shaking up the Etch-a-Sketch: New Year’s resolutions and advertising have a lot in common.

January 4, 2012


You: New and Improved!

Did you make any resolutions for the New Year? Are you going to quit something, like smoking or drinking or swearing in public? Or are you going to start something, maybe swimming at the “Y” or learning a new language? All good resolutions; I’ve made every one of them myself. That doesn’t mean I’ve kept them but that’s not the point. Not yet anyway. Right now it’s all about beginnings.

Beginning a new year is like shaking up an Etch-a-Sketch. We get to get rid of all those squiggly lines. We get to start over. It’s a powerful fantasy all humans can relate to, even if they’ve failed before or plain stopped trying.

Advertising taps in to this very same current. It always has. Everything is new and improved, totally redesigned or better than ever. Advertising is a siren song, beckoning us to try something. Nothing is too small. Even a cup of coffee from McDonalds promises a new and simple joy, a new beginning, and a resolution for the new day.

Advertising makes us want what we do not have. We see a new car, totally redesigned for 2012. We see the new phones and all the new and wonderful things they can do. We think ‘I want to be totally redesigned for 2012.’ ‘I want to do new and wonderful things.’ Granted, it’s a lot easier to buy a Happy Meal than it is, for example, to resolve to be happier. But I don’t want to end on a bummer. Impossible is nothing. Think Different. Just do it.

Happy New Year, Adland!

2 Responses to “Shaking up the Etch-a-Sketch: New Year’s resolutions and advertising have a lot in common.”

  1. Tracy said

    I’m going to start swearing at the Y in a new language…

    Actually what I really need to do is better work and this is going to be the year for it.

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