From a 1996 episode of David Letterman’s Late Show: is this where Fallon got the idea for Sony Balls? Please don’t let it be true…
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It’s OK to be alone. While in the past, advertising may have conspired to makes us feel utterly inadequate unless surrounded at all times by a coterie of guffawing supermodels, images of solitude are the growing trend in global visual culture.
So say Getty Images whose Map Report claims to “capture the concepts that are shifting global culture and will become hot themes for the world’s media”. According to Getty, “advertisers will no longer shy away from depicting the individual without relationship ties.”
Having spent decades deriding singletons as losers with all the social skills of a rock, advertisers now want to make friends with those of us with just the one toothbrush in our bathroom. And it’s not just because, with no family to support, single people are wont to fill their empty lives with pointless new purchases. Being on your own is now, apparently, an aspiration.
Instead of fretting at your lack of mates or your pathetic inability to attract a partner, advertisers now want you to think of the Single Life as a Good Thing: “The label of ‘loner’ or ‘singleton’ will give way to singleness as a value. Advertising will reach out to those without ties, who can do things that you are not able to do in a couple, as a family or in a group,” claim Getty, who reveal that over half of their top 500 selling images feature solitary people. “We are likely to see imagery around the concepts of peace and quiet as a lifestyle choice enabling thinking time, reflection and freedom from chaotic lifestyles.”
Getty are calling the trend One Life. It’s based on analysis of buying patterns on its website, a study of 50,000 searches conducted in the last 12 months, 120 re-branding exercises conducted for its clients, tearsheets from the 260 magazines read per week by its Creative Research department and a survey of 500 advertising creatives around the world.
It’s all wrapped up in an 11,000 word report which, though blighted by some of the worst marketing bollocks ever committed to paper, nevertheless contains some intriguing insight. We’ve read it so you don’t have to – OK, we didn’t read it all, it’s not like we’re some sad loser with no friends…
As was previously posted here, we did have some problems with people registering to post comments. That problem has now, happily, been resolved although I should point out that all comments are monitored and, therefore, there may be a slight delay in them appearing here.
Alan Fletcher as pictured in his final book, Picturing and Poeting, £24.95 / € 39.95, Phaidon 2006
The Design Museum was packed out with the great and good (plus CR) last night for the official opening of Alan Fletcher: Fifty years of graphic work (and play). Given the tragic circumstances, Fletcher having died little more than a month before, the evening was as much celebratory tribute as private view: a chance for the industry to show how much they loved and admired the man. Among those paying homage were Wim Crouwel, Bob Gill and, bizarrely, former quiz show host Bamber Gascoigne (anyone who knows his connection with Fletcher, please enlighten us).
Derek Birdsall gave a touching, if meandering speech and we all left clutching Quentin Newark’s beautiful show guide (the latter features biographical text from the exhibition alongside Peter Wood’s photographs of Fletcher’s gorgeous studio and is almost worth the admission money alone).
Of course the show is great – GTF’s design is respectful and understated while still providing some delightful touches (including a giant 3D Reuters logo) and Emily King cleverly paces the journey through Fletcher’s remarkable career. It’s all there: from the iconoclastic early years, through major corporate work at Pentagram to the exuberance of an independence secured late in life. But as with all great shows, Fletcher’s should be as much about influencing the future as documenting the past. It is the effect that the show will have on those who come to see it that will be as important as the joy of reviewing his triumphs. So here are some thoughts prompted by last night…