Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Beyond Happiness in advertising: What is a “Happy life”?

I seldom see any ads that I think are good, almost always they are mental pollution that are either sad excuses for increased consumptions or just trying to get people to forget that they can live meaningful lives. On a trip to Denmark I found ads that I would like to include in the book “Beyond Happiness” that I’m writing.

The ads show how Mandela and Gandhi could have led comfortable and “happy” lives if they had not stood up for what they believed in. Too often the easy happy life without challenges, or with simple challenges related to making money, is portrayed as the one we should strive for. Would be interesting to see how many people that would like to have a surfer life, or a quiet life with a nice house, and how many who see the life of Gandhi and Mandela as inspiration for a life they would like to live (if needed). It is an ad campaign that made me think of the movie Rang de Basanti and that should be almost as good as an ad can get. Still it might only be another contribution to the mental pollution.

I have no idea if the Danish paper behind the ad lives up to the ad. One of the challenges until Babelfish really works is that non-English texts are seldom part of the broader discourse.