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Could not agree more. In fact, I had written a similarly titled piece "Design Is The New Advertising" for MP Daily Fix back in Dec. 07. (Not remotely suggesting your cribbed it, but rather quite pleased that someone else is tooting the same horn.)

I agree that design should have more importance on advertising. But how does it aim for more abstract needs (and i'm quoting Maslow here) like esteem and self-actualization.

Isn't design more appropriate to tangible experiences, with advertising filling the loopholes on aemotional scarceness ?

On short, design is our road and advertising the landscape. As long as brands don't forget we're behind the wheel, it's a hell of a ride.

Just to be contrarian - it's Monday. Wasn't design the original driver of early advertising and aren't we seeing the pendulum swing the other way.

Ever diminishing incremental improvements by different manufacturers led to communication overload and competition whereby most of the time we're now just selling the same stuff in different ways

As we overdose on this to the point of saturation where any watch a person desires can be purchased in nearly all corners of the planet the necessity for real design is starting to make itself heard.

Look at what an excess of production and incentivised competition makes: Its insane!


Nodding my head... lately, even the best anthem spots feel antiquated.

Isn't this all part of the branded utility, marketing as service, experience economy, etc., conversation... and evidenced by the rise of online?

what if the industry brief is: anything we make or influence or do (anthem 60 included) should have enough value to justify its existence in the world?

Meanwhile, there's Phillipe Starck and his "design is dead" tantrum a few weeks ago... While he doesn't bill himself as an experience designer I do agree we're full-up on disposable-chic toilet paper holders.


Nice to know Tangerine Toad (hello again, remember me?) is only a year behind Gobé. Don't worry, Toad. You can't accuse anyone of cribbing anything here.

"Design is the new advertising." January 2007 - http://blog.rebang.com/?p=1140

And Julie might want to read the full translation of Starck's interview and perhaps read some of the comments over on Bruce Nussbaum's blog (understanding that "design" means different things depending on with whom one is speaking). Some of us (D)esigners agree with the sentiment he's trying to express.

Nice points.
Don't talk the talk, walk the walk. Simple as that isn't it.

If you create service, product or experience and your approach isn't people-centered, surely you're going to get into trouble. Those people, they're your audience, it's gotta be about them.

Great quote at the head of the piece. The truth is, advertising is all about experience and while strategy is critical for determining direction, design is equally critical for execution. Both elements must sit at the head of the table. Coincidentally, I posted a similar thought this weekend after having spent some time talking to the future generation of brand communicators from the VCU Brandcenter: http://mybackchannel.blogspot.com/2008/04/geek-shall-inherit-earth.html.

we tend to think design as advertising are similar. your post clearly thinks that. design is communication and advertising is persuasion.

to communicate an idea you first need to persuade people to want to listen to you or buy your product. for example, you design a menu at restaurant so people can find the food they feel like having best, but advertising helps the restaurant owner to bring people to his restaurant. i just don't see design being able to replace Ads, they do very different things, they compliment one another.

another thing, what ever problems we have with advertising is because it has become interruptive, we have serious issues, i agree, but instead of turning a blinding eye on it we need to find a way to fix it and replacing it with design is not the answer.

i've been in both advertising and design ... i'm now in strategy and branding which deals with both ... in my opinion you've miss understood the industry.

All -

Thank you very much for your feedback, links and comments.

I want to clarify something that didn't come through as this was a flowing stream of thought into the blog and not a planned-out/carefully crafted post/article.

I don't think design should replace advertising. I don't think advertising should become design. I do think advertising has a lot to learn from design that we have either forgotten or never learned.

That is where the future of this series of posts is headed. As I tried to say throughout the post, this is a thought in progress and not a final idea.

What I hoped people would focus on more got convoluted by putting too many tangential streams of thought around it. Lesson learned. Stay focused.

The pieces I will try to focus it in on next time are this:

... Anyway, the point is that as an industry, we have to stop thinking about things like traditional advertising people. We need to start thinking about things like designers, engineers, architects and the like. We need to think about the action we want people to take and what will be required to make that action happen. We can't just think about what we want to tell people. ...

And this:

... We've got to re-think the process of how we solve problems for our clients. Instead of starting with "what's the main idea we need to communicate,' we need to start with "what is the experience we need to create to change behavior?" ...

Sorry for the confusion and I'll work to be more focused in future posts.

Thank you again for all the thoughts, challenges and links. I really do appreciate the further thinking you're making me do. Keep them coming!


If it's any consolation, those were the points that stood out to me the most, perhaps as a result of me being a tad jaded with rigid, formulaic problem solving forms and processes at the moment. I don't want to always go planner > creative > design. I want to cut straight to design, and then back again, or not, or bring in an architect or sculptor if I want to. I want the idea to sometimes be the way you engage with what would normally be the idea, in a rigid structure.

'The main idea to communicate' is fraught with problems. I just want a challenge, or a desired end result. Let me get there any which way I want...

Go find the original Veg-a-Matic commerical. The one shot with the guy who was brought right off the AC boardwalk and into the studio. It's exactly what you're talking about. It was shot in black&white. It was shot with drippy authenticity because, well, it was authentic. The model exists. It hasn't changed. Get to know your neighbor. Find out what problem they have. Come up with a solution. Demonstrate it in a charming, engaging way. Call it the iPhone. Or the Veg-a-matic. Or the Dyson. Or..Whatever's Next.

We spend too much time analyzing and slapping hyphenated, important sounding labels on our navels. Old school is good school. It's honest. It's unvarnished. It's unhyphenated. At the center of it is the customer -- honored and respected. That's what's too often missing. The honor and respect. Find that in your self and you'll find your connection.


I tend to agree with Crawford, in that various mental constructs are blinding people to the real issues at hand. I posted a short rant about it over here: http://tinyurl.com/5mlkm6

Paul, you can see the Dyson ad here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_9nsWJ6QbE

Thanks for the kind words, good to hear that someone thinks we're doing it right!

The future of advertising is lovertising (ideas that spread love :)

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