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The Cleaning Lady v. PostModernism 1-0. A reality check for a few in Adland.

(Inspiration for this title from a tweet by David Trott on Feb. 28th 2014, and blogger “The Paper Thin Hymn” http://bit.ly/1gAOWOe).

The Story.

Sometimes Fate (or God) chooses the least likely of humans to become the messenger of a Higher Truth. This time is down to Mrs. Anna Macchi from Bari, Italy.

Mrs. Macchi works as cleaning lady at the Sala Murat in Bari; last February this “avant-garde” cultural institution hosted an exhibition on contemporary art.

During her shift before the opening, Mrs. Macchi sees what looks like a bunch of rumbles just left there in a corner and ipso facto: to the garbage bin. No messing around, so Mamma said, so be it.
Chances are the “rumbles” are in fact a centrepiece in the exhibition to be opened soon.

Big fuss but guess what, rather than losing her job Mrs. Macchi becomes a hero for some (this writer included) and revamps a fierce debate among the Arty Brigade in Italy.

The Morale:
Mrs. Macchi is THE ultimate art critic, my hero and should be The Hero of Anyone with a Bit of Common Sense Left (yes, vanishing species…). And that is a useful reminder to Adland as well.

Why?

It is very simple, just allow me to draw an example from a movie (it is the Seventh Art after all). Imagine you are a real person, living in a real world. One day you happen to take a trip to an art exhibition, where a Tom Wesselmann’s still-life (a full blown bathroom & toilet) is displayed.

So it occurs to you that an acquaintance of yours had once found a painting in a ruined XVIII century villa. The painting turned out to be a Luca Giordano…

Then the question is: what would one feel, think and do in, say a thousand year, if they found the ruins of a Wesselmann installation?

In the movie, the simple answer of the real people is: In a thousand years or more, a ruin from the Parthenon will be immediately recognised as art, a broken toilet will just look like a broken toilet I am afraid. Sorry Mr. Wesselmann, Mr. Duchamp, sorry Arty-Farty Brigade.

What’s in it for Adland? Well, one could ramble on about DRIP etc. etc.
More simply Mr. Ogilvy used the same rationale as the real person when he said (more or less, free but loyal rendition by this writer):

“Many ads try to be clever and artistic, they end up being the private joke of the ad people who made them”.