We see an average of 5,000 ads a day.
That’s a daunting statistic any way you look at it. For the Average Joe going through his day it sounds almost suffocating, and for the Average Company trying to reach that Average Joe, it seems next to impossible to get through. Here’s how I’ve responded to that number.
As a media ecology major in college I was confronted by this statistic and ones like it a lot. Professors and classmates alike bemoaned the fact that in our culture we are constantly over-stimulated, over-saturated, and that the only sane response to such an inundation of information was insanity. Most classes I took left me feeling small, depressed and angry at the world. We studied people who responded to this fact by running away from culture to become Amish or something. That’s all well and good, but I’ve never been one to run. The more I studied, I realized that as alarming as that statistic was, the way our culture is, there’s not much we can do to reduce it. We can read more, we can think more, we can do more, but our culture is undeniably visual and it’s going to keep on being that way until the zombie apocalypse comes and we can’t get online or watch TV anymore. And this fact is not necessarily a bad thing.
Out of those 5,000 images I see a day, most I don’t remember a bit. I gloss over them, I scroll down, I turn the page.
But there’s a few that make me pause. Those are why I became a designer. Not because I want to add my visual language to the clutter, but because I want to enrich it. I want my work to spark something in people, like it does to me. That’s why I love working where I do. At Catchfire I get to work with people who aren’t merely concerned about being an effective creative agency, we want to actually be creative. We don’t want to merely add our voice to the cacophony, hoping someone will pay attention. We want what we create to cause people to stop and look closer, to learn something, to change. We want to enrich the media landscape rather than pollute it.