AICP Campaign Seeks to Answer That Eternal Question: Is Advertising Art?

By Patrick Coffee Comment

UPDATE: Less than an hour after we posted on this campaign, its homepage and all the videos disappeared. AICP said they would get back to us about what happened to the project.

The website now seems to imply that the deletions were planned with the following lines:

“Like some other art pieces of our time, these films appeared and are now gone—only to be lore for those who experienced them.

Is it a sign of the times with proliferating #fakenews accounts and #revisionisthistory that communications can disappear from history as quickly as they appear? #cybercoldwar”

This all sounds very suspicious to us, but we will be sure to update this post if and when we learn more.


Is advertising art? Can it ever be?

Before you tell us how tired you are of people asking this question, some context: the Association of Independent Commercial Producers is promoting its upcoming awards events AICP Show and AICP Next Awards with a campaign hyping its collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art’s Department of Film. This work plays on the idea that most creatives in the ad industry are former fine arts majors who had to find a way to make a living. (So are many of us in media, btw.)

Specifically, it compares some prominent creatives to big name artists by tallying the works they have housed in the MoMA.

First, it’s FCB’s Susan Credle versus that guy with one ear:

FACT CHECK: Credle did not, in fact, post 50 selfies in one day. We rate that claim #FakeNews.

Jeff Kling and Jeff Koons are also running neck and neck, though the pop artist manages to beat out the Fallon CCO by one.

We like how Kling hammed it up there. And of course, many “traditional” artists have always disliked Koons and pop artists like him for supposedly commenting on the shallow nature of our culture by celebrating it.

Now for perhaps the most shocking statistic: Gerry Graf and Paul Cezanne have the same number of works in the MoMA. No, you probably won’t see Snyder’s of Hanover ads airing on the wall next time you walk into the museum. But you get the point.

OK, OK. Slow clap. And that paternity suit thing is a joke. We Googled.

You can thank R/GA for the idea behind this one as Nick Law and Jay Zasa came up with it. Law is also 2017 AICP Next Awards Judging Chair. R/GA creatives Mike Donaghey and Chris Joakim contributed, and the subject of each short wrote its respective script—which explains the Graf entry.

Your press release quote from AICP president and CEO Matt Miller:

“The conversation about art and advertising is over—its now about Art vs Advertising as creative rivalries percolate across media platforms. The archive at MoMA is a huge achievement, offering unequaled prestige to artists of all walks as they strive for creative recognition.”

Is the conversation really over, though? If you want to get all technical, “art” is a creative endeavor that has no specific commercial purpose. So advertising, by definition, can never be art, no matter how groundbreaking it is or how many boxes of cereal it sells or how many Adweek covers it inspires. This is also why “art” in the traditional sense is dead, because who the hell can afford to spend countless hours creating stuff without the assurance that there’s money to be made? Remember how Van Gogh only sold one painting during his lifetime?

The MoMA does have at least one thing in common with ad agencies, though: both organizations (allegedly) overwork employees while paying them peanuts. It’s barely a living, but the health benefits might be described as “kind of generous!”

The deadline to enter the AICP Awards is next Friday, March 3, 2017. Here’s your link.


Creative Concept
Nick Law, Vice Chairman, Global Chief Creative Officer R/GA
Jay Zasa, SVP, Executive Creative Director, R/GA
Mike Donaghey, Creative Director, R/GA
Chris Joakim, Creative Director, R/GA

Writing Credits
Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer, FCB Global (“Van Gogh vs Credle”)
Gerry Graf, Chief Creative Officer, Barton F. Graf (“Cezanne vs Graf”)
Jeff Kling, Chief Creative Officer, Fallon (“Koons vs Kling”)

James Duffy, Editor
Nick Schneider, Editor
Lucas Spaulding, Editor
Renn Cheadle, Assistant Editor
Connie Chuang, Assistant Editor
Malia Rose, Producer
Yole Barrera, Producer
Corina Dennison, Executive Producer

“Koons vs Kling”
Collin Goodspeed, Director
Valeska Bachauer & Lauren Carpenter, Art Direction
Jeff Kling, Talent

JSM Music
Joel Simon, CCO/CEO
Jeff Fiorello, Executive Producer
Norm Felker, Producer

Audio & Voice Over Recording
Josh Abbey, Engineer / Partner
Kevin Halpin, Engineer / Partner
JD Heilbronner, Engineer / Mixer / Tech Producer
Jeff Rosner, Executive Producer / Partner

Voice Over Artist
Alex Warner