Pop Culture Makes Advertising which Makes Pop Culture

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Written by
John Gamble

It has long been an interest of mine that David Ogilvy, advertising titan of the last century, went on record to say that advertising emulates everyday life, it doesn’t shape it. But then later, in his well thumbed book, Ogilvy on Advertising, he mentions that it is every advertisers dream to come up with a slogan or phrase that is indelibly marked into a cultural consciousness. The example he then gives is the old adage “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” which in fact originated as an advertising tag in the late 1800s, early 1900s, to assist British apple farmers increase sales.

Fast-forward a hundred years and we have another concept, public service in its nature, which although introduced by Australian Melbourne Metro has gone completely viral, even my 7 year old neighbour continually sings it to himself everyday whilst practicing soccer in the garden. You guessed it, it’s Dumb Ways to Die. The secret of course is that message is pertinent and the delivery exceptional. Furthermore, as the campaign has become entrenched in consciousness, so it has looped back into pop culture, catching hold of anything that can further bolster the message. The result is a wonderful and seriously entertaining loop, even adults want to sing the song, and now Game of Thrones fans will start humming along too. Here’s the latest instalment of Dumb Ways to Die – Game of Thrones style…