Art, Copy & Code: Advertising in the Modern Era

Stacey Kole By Stacey Kole  |  May. 09, 2013

It’s been said that the only thing constant is change; and in the world of advertising, this saying is especially true. For years, successful “Mad Men” merged art with copy, effectively defining the creative team and reaping great rewards. Fast forward to today, where digital advertising is increasingly omnipresent, and one thing becomes clear: the dynamic duo of art and copy must make room for a third member, code.

With this in mind, Google has recently introduced Art, Copy & Code — a series of experiments designed to redefine advertising in a connected world. These projects illustrate how creativity and technology can merge to give consumers an interactive experience. Plans include partnering with companies like Burberry and Adidas, along with joining forces with filmmakers and other creatives to help brands inventively use technology to connect with consumers.

The first test is a partnership with Volkswagen in the production of the VW Smileage app. Using a metric called “smileage”, the app draws upon signals like weather, location, and traffic to measure a trip’s fun; plus, the experience can be shared with friends through continual plotting on a live interactive map. This social driving experience — which can be used in any vehicle, not just Volkswagens — is revealed in the video below. 


Clearly, the networked world we live in demands that advertisers engage consumers like never before. Print pitches and passive on-looking simply won’t do in our connected, digital society, so the marriage of art, copy, and code is timely. Luckily, the minds at Google recognize that no amount of technology can replace the emotional storytelling aspect of successful advertising endeavors of the past. 

What hasn’t changed is the need for human insights, breakthrough ideas and emotional stories. Code facilitates new kinds of experiences, but it doesn’t replace the storytelling skills the advertising industry has honed over the past fifty years. Our connected world is giving brands more dimensions and touch points, but they still need something compelling to offer in order to create a real connection.

 The reach of Google’s specific experiments is, of course, yet to be seen. But in the meantime, we can be reminded that the old way of doing things still holds a lot of merit — as long as it meets the new way of doing things in the middle.


How successful do you think Google will be with its series of experiments? Do you think the role of digital media will supersede all others as time goes on? Let us know in the comments.