Instructions from Advertising: You Are Okay

Robin Baum
5 min readJan 8, 2024

How often do you get told that you are just right, just the way you are? Not as often as one would like. Following public discourse, it’s not compliments but resentments that are en vogue. It is an opportunity, if not THE opportunity, for advertising to secure a place for products in the hearts of consumers.

Perhaps you remember the great Lucky Strike scene from the advertising series Mad Men: Whatever we believe in, whatever principles we may act upon (ecology, justice, low prices, good taste) — for every personal value, there is a product that validates it. Advertising affirms us in what we are; it compliments, comforts, and agrees. Every advertisement is a silent handshake: you are okay.

What this looks like in practice is shown in the second part of the small series “Instruction through Advertising” (Part 1 is here). As a reminder, all claims are taken from urban marketing spaces I photographed in passing (translated from German). The first half of the pictures shows the extracted texts, and the second half shows the sources.

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Robin Baum

Design practitioner with a background in media/culture theory.