Monthly Archives: September 2016

Why Advertising is The Dark Knight


Some of you may think I have an obsession for likening the advertising industry with Christopher Nolan movies. I wouldn’t blame you, I have done it in the past. But as any good planner will tell you: two instances, do not a trend make. (Besides, I’m thinking more Frank Miller than Nolan)

Having established that, here’s why I think advertising is like Batman.

For a very long time, I have held the belief that people are fundamentally irrational. And have tried presenting this point-of-view in several occasions – stretching from conversations with friends over beers (that invariably have me outnumbered) or in conversations with colleagues and clients and of course with the more engineering minded folk aiming to develop new products, interfaces or even services.  To little avail.

Perhaps this is something that more of you from adland can relate to. From conversations I’ve had – I believe that it is.

As an industry: irrationality is not only something we believe in but also a truth we work with. Many of us are irrational in our own ways, and certainly welcoming of it. Yet, our stand on irrationality outside our own industry often receives little or no heed.


I found the answer in The Anatomy Of Humbug, by Paul Feldwick:

“the need for clients, agencies, and the public alike to cling to their self-image as ‘rational’, autonomous decision makers.” 

Everyone wants to believe that they are in control. And nobody likes to be told otherwise.

Even if the truth that is spoken, is used everyday to create something that makes their lives better – yet eluding.

It is for this reason I believe we advertisers, are the dark knights of industry. For people will not understand our ways, and we certainly won’t receive much gratitude for them. If we speak of our ways we will be silenced but we act on them everyday to make things better. For it is what the world needs, it is what our client’s need and it is what our consumers need.

It is because we recognise, that rationality, like morality is not black-or-white.