Why hasn’t digital technology led to better advertisements?


The access to information, ideas and inspiration available to advertising creatives today is mind-boggling. Still, it didn’t necessarily make the ads better. Ben Kay examines the reasons why

The advent of the digital age has been nothing short of a miracle. Those of you under 40 won’t have much idea what life was like before the internet became a daily part of our lives, but as a regular eyewitness I can tell you that it was a comparative desert.

Instead of searching literally anything on Google and Wikipedia, ad agencies had information services, which could find things in these bound collections of paper called books. Are these books out of date? Inevitably. Were they limited? Try to imagine what a search engine would look like as a vast physical library. The two information departments that I knew at the beginning of my career consisted of about ten shelves.

And what about inspiration and reference? Many great creatives have kept scrapbooks of their favorite typography, photography, illustrations, and layouts. Some have kept snippets of news articles, cartoons, and other things that might lead to an idea in the future. I don’t think anyone has had more than ten of these books, so maybe it would be like having a 50MB hard drive. Compared to being able to flip through endless pages of Dribbble, Behance or Abduzeedo.

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