Anti-Ad Victories Are Actually Good For Advertisers

By: Nick Damko


In one of my previous posts, I wrote about starting to watch AMC’s “Mad Men” on Netflix. At that point, I was a few episodes into the first season. Now I am a few seasons further, and I have made my way through the ad industry of the mid-60s. As the show has progressed, I have noticed a growing animosity towards the ad industry. I knew that the booming ad industry of the 60s was bound to have some tough opposition, so I wasn’t surprised. I know that the show isn’t a documentary, but it resembles how the 60s actually were.


When I look at the current ad industry, I am surprised that the anti-advertising crowd is as strong as it currently is. There are billboard bans in countless cities, and more cities are proposing bans. In my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, city buses aren’t wrapped in advertisements any more, even though they used to be just 10 years ago. This is the work of the anti-ad crowd, however, their victories are bittersweet.


Although fewer advertisement opportunities hurts the current ad industry, they push the industry further. They keep creatives on their toes. Not only do today’s creatives have to think about how to create an advertisement that stands out from the crowd, but they also need to figure out where to put the advertisement. If the client wants a billboard, but there are no billboards, what do you do?


Ogilvy & Mather Colombia found a solution for its client, Carulla. Instead of advertising on an ordinary billboard, they put the ads on competitors’ security gates.




Perhaps you should know something about Carulla. They are a 24-hour market chain in Bogota, Colombia. They put their ads on the security gates of markets that are only open during the day. By doing this, daytime markets get ad money, late-night customers know where to get what they need, and Carulla gets more customers.


So here’s the timeline of how long security gate advertising will last (in my opinion):

1. Security gate advertising is created and first used by Carulla (2014)

2. The method spreads to other industries and countries (2014-2016)

3. The method becomes standard in cities around the world (2017-2029)

4. The method is outlawed by the anti-ad crowd (2030)

5. Advertisers create another way to advertise to replace security gate ads (2030)


Again, my outline is roughly based on past examples, and I will have to wait and see if these predictions come true. What my predictions mean, though, is that it doesn’t matter how many methods the anti-ad crowd bans. Creatives within the ad industry will prevail with innovative new ways. The more creative the human race is, the better off we are. So no matter what restrictions are thrown our way, don’t despair. There’s always another way. Keep innovating.