Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian
Photo: Ivan Stanković, president of Communis
In the advertising business, the recognition and knowledge of the unconscious is of great importance. In order for a message to have any effect, it’s normal to first go for the conscious, but the importance of that which a person is not aware of in everyday life must be in the field of vision of those creating a campaign.
The impact of the unconscious part of our personality was the subject of prohibited attempts to insert subliminal things into regular messages, which we would then, unconsciously, embrace.
But what is often used, either as a theme, or illustration, or message, are dreams. The stories of dreams provide good grounds for being freer in creation, for being creative, for making irrational leaps into the world of the surreal. Which makes the advertising stronger, deadlier, easier to remember.
A few years ago – quite unexpectedly for myself – I was a member of an expedition that climbed the Himalayas and conquered one of the peaks, of around 6200 meters. An extraordinary experience, by all criteria – and unique in my life as, before that, I hadn’t even climbed the Avala.
But during the three weeks that the entire thing lasted, I encountered parts of my personality that I didn’t know existed. The dislocation from everyday life, the hypnotic effect of climbing for hours every day, the mystique of the Himalayas, the thin air, the huge effort and existential vulnerability, release some of the brakes in the brain, and you begin to think a little differently.
I, who don’t remember my dreams normally, and don’t have nightmares, experienced different things on this expedition. My worst dream was when I dreamt that I kicked the currently most powerful politician in Serbia out of my house, who had come to visit to see how his and my children were swimming and playing in our pool in the living room (?!). It annoyed me terribly because I wanted to read the newspaper. Of course he later apologized to me for coming uninvited, and I apologized to him because I only then realized that he was the most powerful man in Serbia. He invited me to visit him at his home in New Belgrade, but I didn’t go because I had tennis. Who wouldn’t wake up from that in a cold sweat??
Unlike my roommate, who slept blissfully the whole time, snoring deeply and uttering all kinds of various sounds, I had a kind of shallow sleep, waking up frequently, with periods that I spent between dream and reality, and with some quite peculiar and surreal dreams. Was it because before leaving I had continuously read Alice in Wonderland to my children at bedtime, and was therefore seeing strange characters? Or was it the thin air? I don’t know. Still, I levitated a lot.
As this powerful politician would say: If you ask me if I experienced introspective, deep contemplation, again, I have to disappoint you. I wasn’t thinking at all about whether it was a good thing that I had come on this trip or not. I wasn’t thinking whether I would succeed or not, or what success would be like, or what would happen if I quit or, God forbid, die, or anything like that. The more time passed, the more I thought how nice was going to be when I was back sleeping in a normal bed, taking a shower, sitting on a normal toilet … I dreamed of the moment when I would return to Belgrade, how I would hug my loved ones, and wondered if I would manage not to cry.
Whether we like it or not, as time goes by, the older we get, the easier it is for tears to pour out in such strange, emotional moments. It also happens at some moving scenes in movies, and then I get embarrassed for reacting like a middle-aged suburban housewife. I start crying like a girl at a wedding. It’s not fitting for a man such as I.
But definitely your control over your emotions starts slipping. Both positive and negative. You have less and less patience for irritating people, bad people. And with good people – people you hold dear – you’re not embarrassed to hug them, kiss them and show how much you care. And if there is little – or better yet – a lot of alcohol nearby, tears are guaranteed.
And then you think: when was the last time you told someone how much you love them, how much they mean to you, how much you need them? Carried away by the haste and superficiality of everyday life, somehow we don’t have time for such “trivialities”. We assume that this is assumed, that there is no need to express your love verbally. So somehow we become indifferent to happiness and the beautiful things. And we don’t know what we are missing.
It’s very nice to show someone how much you care about him or her. Not once, but many times. To tell him or her how much they mean to you and what they represent in your life. To not be ashamed of emotions, but to be proud of having them, and having the opportunity to share them with someone. It’s easy to hug, kiss, touch someone. But to say you love him/her, that they mean a lot to you, that they are an essential part of your life, that they’re doing something that gives you the strength to move on, that’s far more difficult. And you have to fight with yourself, with your ego, the rules of behavior and all that life has taught you thus far. And that was brutal: when you opened up, you got hurt. When you loved, you were left. When you opened up, you were wounded. But, if you don’t open up to give love, you can’t receive it. And because of that, do what you feel. Share love, share feelings, share happiness, share kindness. It’s a rare privilege to have all that in you. Even if you share with the wrong person, well, it happens. Remember, there is greater happiness in giving than in receiving.
Unfortunately, people usually realize the full depth of love only when they lose loved ones. But then it’s too late. And there’s no return. It’s impossible to correct all these beautiful things that you could have and should have shared with your loved ones. Then you get hit with the inevitability of disappearance, by the void of the absence of that person, by the despair of inexorability.
When my wife suddenly fell ill, hovering between life and death for several weeks, I learned it from personal experience. And that unfortunate situation – which luckily had a happy ending – strengthened me immeasurably. It gave me the strength to face many other things.
First and foremost the most difficult, yet so benign thing. To love. To love someone so much that their departure would be horrible. Loss. Despair.
A few years ago a very close friend of mine departed. Suddenly. We were all shocked. And with every day we become more aware how much we miss him, how much he meant to us, how many things we passed by with the “it’s taken for granted” attitude. What harm would it have brought us had we told him that we loved him, that we needed him, that he meant a lot to us? Except for the fact that he would have personally killed us.
But, it’s mighty nice when you share your feelings with someone.
Recently, at the largest advertising festival in Cannes, one of the campaigns that was made for a Dutch funeral company won a bunch of awards. The message was beautiful: don’t wait for someone to die, and then in the obituary say how much that person meant to you. Do it now, immediately. And there were numerous examples of these wonderful messages that should be sent to the living, not the dead.
Love can’t wait.
If you love someone, if someone means something to you, say it now. Immediately.
No one ever died from excess of love.