Is there a difference between art and ads? Say I make a short film — a documentary about a lumber shop — and my enemy creates a TV commercial for the exact same company. What’s the difference? Our films look identical: they both start with shots of middle-aged men standing next to enormous trucks; and they both end with an intern smiling at the camera and saying: Vote for wood.
A king pays an artist to paint a picture: a royal portrait, which is expected to emphasize the king’s best qualities. It shall be framed and displayed in a prominent place of the palace, for all to admire. Meanwhile, a local business named “Company XXX” has paid to rent a billboard for a month. Digital photos versus acrylic paintings, with regard to movie posters.
One jingle is written to move real estate; another jingle is written to sell bubblegum. A third jingle is written to lure the populace toward a religious institution. Compare this to the fact that certain pop songs are played at dance clubs and strip clubs. Listen to the lyrics: what are they saying? (“Slow jams” often mention love.)
What is a psalm? Who wrote it, and why? Is a poem like an ad? What if I write a poem about a cow, and a manufacturer of farm animals asks to use it for their two-page newspaper advertisement? Should I claim that my intention was blank all along? Who cares, and why?
The talk of having to pay for water alarms me; but then I recall that I’ve been purchasing water on the norm for years already. Is what I just said true? I think it is. I pay a water bill, monthly, which covers the processing of water. And, for a spell (during my wild youth), I routinely paid to refill a five-gallon jug with water that (purportedly) had been filtered by my local grocery store, for I feared that regular tap water is unhealthy (on account of the added fluoride, etc.—but now I just drink tap water anyway, because I’m adventurous: I lick it like a cat). And it’s not uncommon to buy plastic bottles of water.
Now I’m reminded about the importance of water wells, in the good old days. They’re surely crucial presently, as well; but I think of such wells as an ancient concept because my postmodern neighborhood is devoid of them. Here, we have water towers. And spigots and hoses. Automatic lawn sprinkler systems.
The damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man known her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, “Let me, I pray thee, drink a little water of thy pitcher.” And she said, “Drink, my lord.” And she hasted, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink. And when she had done giving him drink, she said, “I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking.” And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
Rebekah is the name of the subject of these statements from Genesis (24:16-20). Is this biblical passage advertising Rebekah? …or water? …or the well of the city? …or garçons for camelfolk? How much was the author paid to write these words?
Propaganda. Public relations. Promotion. You gotta get your name out there. Inflate your brand. Make your product known. Attract followers. Achieve sustainability. Become lucrative: monetize your appeal. Corner the market. It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Leverage your assets by financing a portion of your portfolios with the cash proceeds from the short sale of other positions. Understand when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. Buy low, sell high. Engage in pay-to-play politics. Stash your treasures offshore. Use a chest, coffers, or a standard strongbox—turn the lock; swallow the key. Bury all profits. Keep an eye on that ostrich. Duck and cover. Stop, drop and roll.