What grabs your attention?

It’s Sunday afternoon, the biggest football game of the year is on and I’m taking notes. I have my favorite team but I’m not a diehard student of the game. I’m not logging details about the coaching or plays but on the commercials during every intermission. Paying attention to public advertising gives me as a pastor valuable insights into the cultural, social and spiritual landscape of our society and inspires creative communication strategies.

The ads I saw mostly fell into two categories: silly or serious and generally made one of two promises: be entertained or be empowered. Notable was Kawasaki’s rocker inducing mullets but also everyday food and beverage ads promising a thrill with Mountain Dew’s “having a blast” slogan to danger flaunting Abuelitas chasing down the last bag of Doritos Dinamita snacks. 

On the opposite end of the spectrum were brands whose stories went beyond their product and highlighted company values instead. Dove featured a sobering statistic that 45% of girls quit sports by age 14 due to body confidence concerns and pledged to change that.  Google showcased a “guided frame” feature as it helped a blind man bring their world into focus. 

The marketing industry is competing to capture our attention. Some use celebrities and hard hitting humour (quite literally I’m calling you out Reeces), while others touched on genuine human needs. What grabs your attention? What will be the memorable moments you share and talk about around the water cooler this week? Is it Beyonce breaking the internet again with new music being released from space or the “He Gets Us’ campaign depicting the love of Jesus reflected by modern day interactions?