The Slovenia Times

Crazy Frogs and Golden Drums



Couple that with the increasingly extortionate sums of money that some companies pay advertising agencies for a new logo, a new slogan or to be 're-branded', and it is little surprise that few people hold those who work in advertising with any high regard. From the moment we are born we are literally bombarded by advertising images. Some studies estimate that in the West the average person has received over 250,000 commercial messages by the time they are 17 and that we 'see' 400-600 adverts (in one form or another) ever single day. And the bad news? Things are going to get worse! While we may 'switch over' to avoid TV adverts, we are now faced with the new annoyance of pop-up adverts on the Internet and ever more spam email selling us cheap Viagra-like drugs or telling us that we have won a lottery prize. If that wasn't enough mobile phone advertising is set to provide even more opportunities for companies to intrude on our personal and private lives. Nevertheless while it is true that a large proportion of advertising is mindless drivel, whether designed for everyday items (toilet paper, washing powder, ready meals) or for things that we really could easily live without (e.g. 'Crazy Frog' and mobile phone ringtones), this is not a universal maxim. Some adverts, and these are few and far between, are able to resonate with the popular imagination to such an extent that they become synonymous with a particular moment in a nation's cultural history. Whether it is because such adverts are funny, groundbreaking, poignant, satirical or surreal, or whether they capture a certain craze or fashion, no one quite knows. However the fact that we are literally bombarded with advertising images every single day of our lives means that we can all recall particular images and advertisements that evoke wistful and nostalgic memories. Can we tell something about a nations' culture from its advertising? Probably. The American comedian Bill Hicks once referred to the USA as the 'United States of Advertising' while the popularity in the UK of TV shows that consist of adverts from around the world reveals that in a lighthearted way what one nation finds culturally acceptable another finds shocking, incredulous (e.g. Japanese adverts) or amusing. So what of Slovenia? Well to be honest I don't watch a lot of TV in general and when I do, I usually channel surf when the adverts come on, either that or take advantage of the 'break' to make a cup of tea or open another beer. In general what is perhaps surprising about Slovenia is how little the advertising differs from the European mainstream. Maybe this tells us more about the globalization of capitalism and the spread of multinationals than it does about any lack of Slovene creativity. A prime example of the former is McDonald's recent 'I'm Lovin it' advertising campaign where the phrase is literally translated into the local language equivalent, if anyone needed anymore evidence of this particular fast food chain's global reach. For all my ranting and raving not all advertising is bad. Advertising is in many ways an art form and it can be thought provoking, powerful and at times an invaluable means of public education. The Golden Drum festival in Potoroz is an event designed to showcase the advertising skills and creativity of agencies from across 'New Europe' and has consistently provided an opportunity for talented Slovenes to put the country on the proverbial map. One final thought.... Some of you might consider this column to be an exercise in the shameful promotion of myself? Couple with that the fact I work in marketing now and I guess I'm guilty of being an incredibly hypocrite! Anyone know where I can download that Crazy Frog tune?


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