Advertising At The Speed Of Culture

by Thomas MORADPOUR on December 14, 2011 · 18 comments

I really love the “Then & Now” ad, celebrating 100 years of Chevrolet. It’s very simple visually, clever, and emotionally engaging.
It’s a very “pure” idea.

I drive a Ford, but have now huge love for the Chevy Runs Deep campaigns. If it’s not an Audi, my next car might just be a Chevy. Camaro probably, just on the merits of the advertising. And design. And Transformers movies, but I digress.

What I find even more fascinating is knowing where the idea came from in the first place.

I discovered the @dearphotograph project a few weeks before the Chevy ad launched, and while I might have been late at the party, I love how fast a brand the stature of Chevrolet acted to take to scale the idea of “taking a picture of a picture from the past in the present” . Check out the Dear Photograph website or Google/image “Dear Photograph” to see how hundreds of photographers were doing this already! It’s powerful.


This one is taken now, it’s too late to use it in your own ads, at least in this very immediate way.
What Chevy did is recognize a an emerging meme, and act on it  at the “speed of culture”. Takes awareness of what’s going on, and fast decision making.
An advertising agency’s job is to know this. But the world is moving faster now. The client needs to do their part too – be curious, explore, and be open to culture in the making. Gotta move fast to be the first.

Kudos to Chevy.
Everyone else, keep your eyes peeled.

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  • Rick Liebling


    Totally agree with you, great spot. Back on August 9th of this year I wrote about Dear Photograph, asking which brand would be smart enough to jump on this. The answer of course, as we now know, is Chevy. And as you suggest, they have won the reward for “advertising at the speed of culture” (great phrase).

    Here’s the post:

    Rick Liebling
    Creative Culturalist
    Y&R NY

    • Thomas Moradpour

      Thanks Rick!
      I might have actually discovered Dear Photograph through you!

  •!/steveolenski/ steveolenski

    Hey Tom, I love this campaign too… you are so right in that it was a brilliant move by Chevy to take full advantage of a very hot idea and acted very quickly on it. 

    That is the world in which we live in and advertisers and marketers need to realize that the time to act is now, not after taking X of meetings and so on like in the “old days” 

    Those days are gone… 

    PLUS anytime I can hear Ray Charles singing America the Beautiful is a good thing… a VERY good thing. If you are not moved by that song as an American chances you are not an American in the first place. Not to get all political here, Tom but there’s just something about that song sung by that man that gets me every time I hear it…

    Great post!Steve O

    • Thomas Moradpour

      Thanks Steve – 100% with you.
      I’m actually French, but that song moves me too!

  • Matt Browne

    Hey Tom,

    I thought this ad was great too…and my response was the same…I drive a Toyota but dang, Chevy did an amazing job.Cheers man, great post!!

    Matt (@MatthewLiberty)

    • Thomas Moradpour

      Thanks Matt!

  • Anonymous

    Tom, great meme of your own.  Enjoying the ”advertising at the speed of culture” Glad to see you posting away!  And #Kudos to Chevy.  I think GM should spin them out/off and give the Volt an chance… :)

    • Thomas Moradpour

      Thanks Josepf!

  • RedHotMktBlender

    Brilliant campaign indeed ! Good to see you back on the blog…

    • Thomas Moradpour

      Thanks Kurt!

  • Pingback: Then and Now « tuliptea

  • Joseph Ruiz

    Tom nice post indeed thanks for the tip and I agree with Josepf great title love advertising at the speed of culture lot to ponder just from that simple statement. Oh and my son lives in Paris he and his wife absolutely love it. Be well.

  • Michael Aidan

    Great ad, great post. I’ll still go for an Audi :)

  • SEO Service Company

    Nice tips. I been noticing lately that social media posts seem to kick ass and get alot of attention lol But I dont want to write all SM post so I mix them in

  • Best SEO Service

    Good points . I especially like your point about responding to comments and trying to promote the guest post on stumbleupon and other social media sites. The more you give back the more writing opportunities you will get.

  • Armando Baraldi

    Totally agree. There’s a great challenge for multinationals and agencies as well… 
    Processes need to be improved and times accelerated. Time for a mind shift.

  • Butcher’s Bunches

    What a fantastic way to present an idea.  We are all so focused on the now and today, we often forget that the past is what got us here.  Take a minute to live.

  • Charles Baker

    Dear Photograph is an amazing project with tremendous visual and emotional impact. Chevy’s ads are really cool too. 

    The Museum of London produced a similar campaign in 2010 ( & my favorite example of this overall technique/strategy was used by Amnesty International in 2006 (…..

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