The imagination is one’s own ability to form ideas, objects, sensations, etc, in their own minds. Averting from being rational and realistic, imagination unlocks your ability to be more creative or inventive. Therefore, it is no surprise that the foundation of surrealism was based on imagination. The surrealists left behind the conventional way of making art, that is, to look at an object or person and draw or paint it directly unto the canvas.
The surrealist approach to art was based more on their own unconscious mind. They would paint based on an imagery that they have seen before and let their unconscious mind and their hands do all the work, rather than their eyes. They also believed that inspiration could be found in everyday life and experience. The surrealist paved way for many other art movements in the future and their influence can also be seen in modern-day advertising as well. Surrealism uses techniques that place objects in an unconventional manner which inadvertently brings new life to these objects outside realms of our reality. This technique is extensively successful in advertising as it manipulates the perception that the customers have of the product or service itself.
Surrealism and advertising share a common ground. That is, to use one’s own creativity in such as way that allows one’s imagination to take over. A common misconception is that advertising needs to be direct and to the point.
The audience needs to know what you are selling and how that products or service can fit in their lifestyle. Nevertheless, modern-day advertising is far from subtle. Much like surrealism, modern advertising makes use of conventional objects and places them in an unconventional setting. The aim is to evoke imagination and a certain imagery to the audience rather than sending across a conventional message in the traditional advertising manner.To illustrate the effects of surrealism on advertising, let’s take an example. The 70’s ad campaign for Benson & Hedges was a clear influence of the surrealist movement. One of the most notable is of the ants’ carrying a packet of Benson & Hedges. What do ants have to do with cigarettes? Nothing.
This ad was an impeccable way of creating an imagery rather than sending a conventional advertising message. The use of two contradictory and unrelated objects together, allows the advertisers to not only capture the audience’s’ attention but also makes them want to think.The ad campaign for Benson & Hedges use of surrealism was very effective and the message was conveyed in a genius manner. One cannot simply advertise that smoking is good and in reality, it would unethical to promote smoking to users. Be as it may, instead of taking the direct and realistic approach to advertising, B&H, with surrealist influence, they took the unrealistic and imaginative approach, which conveys the same message but instead, allows the viewers to use their imagination and subconscious instead.
These kinds of ads play into the viewer’s mind and emotions, which leaves a lasting impression and the ad is more likely to stay on your mind rather than a direct traditional ad.After 10 decades, the influence of surrealism is strong and it is growing every day. The chances of an ad campaign going “viral” are very likely if the content is unusual, takes the viewers by surprise or leaves an effect in such a way that the viewer will be thinking about the ad throughout his or her day. The element of surprise in the surrealist art as well as ads influenced by surrealism is what makes an ad memorable and drives customers to that certain products or service. Surrealist influenced ads have a much strategic advantage over other kinds of ads as it plays not only on the psyche of viewers but also incorporates fantasy which is a powerful promoter.