Ads as Windows to a Culture

I hope you watched the video above. It’s a video of Sao Paolo, Brazil. I also hope that you noticed that there are no outdoor ads in that video. The video is for a company that is trying to remove ads from movies.

If the world looks like Sao Paolo after the ads are removed, I don’t want to live in that world. Ads just seem to add so much to our everyday landscape. Morgan Spurlock (you might know this name from Super Size Me) actually started an organization that will attempt to virtually remove all the ads from New York’s Time Square. The group hopes that this virtual reality will become a physical reality.

I don’t think I can support this move. Watching the video above made me realize how much ads add to our cultural landscape. It’s not just about some product or other, it’s also about how our culture uses or appreciates that product. Case in point: the differences between Coca-Cola ads in the US and Africa. What a people eats, how a people lives, why a people do something, is important to how products are going to be advertised.

Ads not only ad flare but are a glimpse into a culture’s ways of being at a certain time. Look at how ads depicted women in the 1950’s and how they depict them today. There was no shame in making women look subservient to men. Today, we see something completely different.

Ads add to our landscape and give us a glimpse into a particular time of a culture.


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