Last month Martin McDonagh’s Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri hit cinemas worldwide. The film features advertising at its heart and highlights the power of three billboards to champion the voices of the silenced and inspire real-world action. It was the poet and playwright Oscar Wilde who famously observed that ‘Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life’ and this wry insight has certainly been borne out in recent weeks. Campaigners lobbying for political action in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in the UK, and the Florida school shooting in the US, have now both leveraged the widely-recognised symbol of three red billboards to shine a light on their respective causes.
But not all advertising can so easily inspire real-world action – in our ‘post-truth’ era, the general scepticism and hunger for authenticity in consumers puts advertising in a precarious position. YouTube saw fit to introduce new regulations in 2016 which mandated that all content-makers disclose when a video was a paid product placement or endorsement. People were fed up with being sold something branded as reality, but which was really just a platform for brand promotion.
One way that we’ve seen VCCP tackle this problem in the past is using satire.
The Curious programme is made up of a combination of always-on content curation (blogs/article and a bi-weekly digest) alongside dedicated 'seasons', in which we host a series of deep-dive talks on a given theme or topic.