How do ads impact pop culture?

How do ads impact pop culture?

Do you know how to procrastinate less? Just do it. Are you wondering why I am so passionate about marketing? It’s simple, I’m lovin’ it.

If you got the joke, you already know that there is some truth in the statement that pop culture and advertisements are intertwined in some weird way. The question many experts cannot answer is the ‘which came first question’, the hen or the egg. In this case, do ads affect pop culture or does pop culture affects ads? Well, we’re going to present you with both sides of the argument.

The case for ads first

Are you aware of how many advertisements you see per day? Just think about your way to work or school. Your phone, your laptop, the billboard, the banner, subway ads, flyers in every waiting area, do we really have to go on? That’s why researchers have started investigating how this constant wave of advertisements is affecting us.

There is a part of the academic world, which opines that due to the fact that we’re constantly exposed to advertising, we are gravely affected by it. However, there’s little proof that ads affect behavior. Now, you might think that since they can’t impact conduct, they can’t possibly create pop culture. But some beg to differ. Let’s talk a bit about Nike.

Through clever and strategic advertisements Nike has managed to sell a story that customers identify with. In this way, it catered to a specific subculture, which began to define the brand. It’s people that give meaning to a brand and then it’s the brand that defines the trend. Going back to the 80s, when Nike shoes were so popular that one in every twelve Americans owned a pair. Is it really that the sneakers became part of the hip young urban culture, because people made them part of it?

Let’s take a look at how Nike advertised the shoes in the 80s. They appeared in highly popular movies like “Do the right thing’,  “Back to the future”, “The Goonies”, “Breakin”, “Leviathan”, they were on posters with icons like Michael Jordan, Spike Lee, Bo Jackson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. So, what effect did advertisements have on the popularity of the shoes at the time? We’ll leave it up to you to judge.

The case for pop culture first

Have you ever heard of Game of Thrones? Of course you have. Love it or hate it, it has become a defining book / television series for contemporary pop culture. In fact, it is so popular that it started appearing in advertising.

References to the show appeared in a Greenpeace commercial, Mercedes ad, Richemont’s ad and that’s just to name a few.   

These posters are an obvious example of how pop culture is integrated in ads in order for brands to appear relevant. Taking this game one step further is social media, which makes it even easier to blend ads with popular culture. It’s sometimes hard to differentiate between ads and content on Instagram, right? Brands fight for relevance and engagement, which is why the idea of including already popular references to pop culture in campaigns seems very appealing. Not only this, but  research also proves that positive attitudes toward the TV show or song in your ad will result in the same attitudes being transferred onto the brand itself.

It turns out that ads and pop culture are closer than we thought, but which influences which? I guess we’ll never know. Which side would you take? Leave us a comment down below!