Lipsmackinthirstquenchinacetastin motivatingoodbuzzincooltalkin highwalkinfastlivnevergivincoolfizzin -- Ads!

I'm taking a few days off this week and -- aside from checking emails once in a while -- indulging myself in doing a whole lot of not much (something I highly recommend).

Part of this strenuous regime of not-muchness, involves catching up on some of the content on my DVR that has been patiently waiting for me. Besides being struck by how much daytime content has crept up on me (notably foodie programming from BBC America such as Rick Stein's "Food Heroes" and "The Naked Chef" -- more on these in a future post) I also found myself thinking of the advertising that still resonates with me from when I first saw it back in the mists of time as a callow youth in the UK.

The title of the piece is one such example -- not only a great ad for Pepsi, but something that entered the language (or at least our attempts at it did) and the culture at a time when Coke was also belting out similarly iconic advertising, albeit of a more cosy nature. Teach the world to sing, anyone? (How many of you who grew up with these ads will now have the music from one or both running through your heads about now? Apologies if you can't shake it, but blame the agencies involved).



I can remember a plethora of similarly resonant ads that are effectively the sound-bites of my youth. Like the hit songs of their day -- and almost as powerfully -- these ads conjure up images of times, places and experiences that constitute memory. Many of them have outlasted the brands they represented.

No doubt we all can reel off a litany of ads that have this effect -- many of them common among us, all of which now represent a kind of nostalgia.

Today, however, we are in very different times. The time when the Lipsmackinthirstquenchin ads of yesteryear were created, were the times of Big TV, few media alternatives and über ratings. Today, with more channels, time-shifting, place-shifting and a veritable explosion in media options for consumers, the opportunities for any given campaign to have similar impact are diminished, as well as harder and more costly to exploit. Beside the increases in the cost of production and distribution of ads, the proliferation of platforms and the subsequent impact on the sheer number of messages consumers receive (and send) in any given day makes it harder for a campaign to cut through the clutter.

Would Lipsmackin have the same impact today that it did all that time ago?

This brings me back to the question I have been pondering while idling through the DVR and fast-forwarding through the ads: which campaigns of today are going to be remembered with the same fondness and nostalgia as the ones we remember from our youth? Will any of them be able to stand out and make the impact required to enter the culture? And will they be remembered for their TV components, or is there a Web-based campaign that is going to achieve the iconic status of Coke's "I'd like to teach the world to sing"? Personally, I kind of doubt it -- but what do I know?

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