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May 10, 2019    Industry Intrigue

Don’t Start a Marketing Agency in Communist Russia


Personalized Advertising and Micro Marketing

You have to see a logo eight different times to fully recognize and remember it. Web designers know where to place ads and keywords because we know your eyes track a webpage in an F formation (skim down once, then reading left to right, twice). How do we know that? Because science, psychology, and advertising got together long before you started reading this or even before Rock Candy Media was around.

This means you’ve been studied as a demographic, as a psychographic, as a generation, as a gender, as a culture, to find out how to best sell to you. Wartime? Sell peace of mind. Technology boom? Sell bogus antivirus software and ‘good ole fashioned newspaper’ subscriptions to the older generation. The link between marketing and culture is why we know simple and cheesy commercials still work on Baby Boomers but you’d NEVER run something like that to Millennials or Gen Z– they’d rather see truth, sarcasm, maybe even some reverse psychology. The advertising industry in America knows you, and will make you believe it.

What’s more interesting though, isn’t that advertising has learned from people and culture this way, but how advertising is otherwise affected by culture– we’re talking about censorship.

N*rth K0re@

Here’s an obvious example: freedom of information in North Korea (hint: there isn’t any). The culture, its ruling parties, religious belief systems, these all come together to tightly control what people are exposed to.


So, in America, we’re obviously not talking literal censorship so much (though that can happen, lookin’ at you Facebook for not letting us drop the F bomb in an ad title). We mean stifling, spinning angles, changing topics, political correctness. We mean the aspects of culture that stifle anything people don’t already know and accept.

Think of it this way: If you pop over to southern California, say, San Diego, the ads in your feed are not going to be about protecting coal mining workers and their families. And in Booneville, Mississippi, you’re not going to be exposed to a Save Dreamers or Legalize Shrooms petition. This looks like plain demographic geography– but it’s not, it’s culture and belief systems shaping what information you get to see. Culture directly affects advertising. It’s not just because brands know where their best consumers live, it’s because the culture surrounding certain consumer lifestyles affects how they see products — what they’re open to, what they disbelieve, and more.

It seems simple once you talk about it, but few people realize how this can silence an entire creative industry, and put creative Austin marketing agencies in little, tiny pigeon holes. If an ad agency settled down in Utah, do you think they would be able to sell the legitimacy of a urologist that does vasectomies? Advertising can affect culture, yes, but equally so culture affects (shrinks, censors, stifles) advertising.

We’ll keep Austin weird because the others are afraid to.

That’s why Rock Candy Media is glad to be one of Austin’s top advertising agencies. If we’re supposed to keep it weird, we’re definitely allowed to be our creative selves without wondering if we’re going too far or hitting too hard.

Investing in the Inherently Idiosyncratic

Rock Candy Media believes in going bold. In banking on creatives. In investing in the inherently weird. In building new roads and strategies, not studying the past to see how we can emulate that same road. This becomes really hard to do if you’re stuck in a culture, or cultural bubble, that responds poorly to anything out of the ordinary. As an Austin ad agency, we are directly affected by the environment we’re in and the people we’re surrounded by; that’s why we’re glad to be here in Austin (the best ad agency in Austin, actually).

Does this mean we can’t expand? No, just that it might be a little harder because we won’t lay down and conform like the local ad agencies might have.

But who says we don’t like ruffling feathers 😉

Let Your Curiosity Take Control