For ten long years the Greeks had been trying to conquer the city of Troy but they could find no way through the high, thick walls. One day, the Greek General, Odysseus, had a clever idea. ‘Let’s pretend that we admit defeat and that we are sailing away. we will leave a gift to announce the end of the war. It will be a magnificent, fantastic horse. A work of art which the Trojans will accept into their city. But inside the horse we will hide 30 men’. The Greeks thought it was a brilliant idea. They had their best artists build the horse and it was brought as close to Troy’s city gates as they could get. When the Trojans saw the Greeks leaving, they could not believe their eyes. The Greeks were giving up! The Trojans pulled the horse inside their city, closed the gates and celebrated their victory.
That night, while the Trojan people slept off the night’s partying, the thirty Greek men hidden inside the wooden horse climbed out and opened the gates of Troy and let the Greek army inside. That was the end of Troy
Advertising draws in some of the world’s most creative people – directors, actors, casting, producers, writers, designers. Ads – tv and viral films, prints, posters, radio scripts – can be amazing works of art. The creativity that goes into them is enormous. And not just into the ads themselves but also into the placement of it, often with the location and timing of the ad working perfectly with the message.
When we just absorb an ad without applying any critical appraisal and without thinking carefully about the intent behind it, we are like the Trojans blithely allowing in the magnificent horse. If we simply see an ad as reflecting reality and a reality that we should aspire to then we give up our freedom of thought. However, if we see ads as artistic creations with a serious, mind changing aim, if we start thinking about why the director chose certain shots or music or people then we start to make the whole process conscious. Through awareness we start to see the ad for what it is – an expert piece of communication designed to change our thinking and our behaviour. When we are aware of what it is trying to do and how it is doing it, we can decide to leave the Trojan horse exactly where it is… outside the City walls.