Many in the local ad industry believe that regional markets are two years behind the US or the UK in bridging the digital divide. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: What’s Noam Chomsky got to do with advertising? One of the world’s pre-eminent thinkers was never known to give much thought to the inner workings of the ad industry and the aspirational stuff that it churned out 24x7. When Chomsky did weigh in about advertising, he only had negativity to offer.

This is what Ahmad Abu-Zannad, with quite a background in the ad industry various layers, takes up in his latest book, ‘Adman vs. Chomsky’. The writer takes on Chomsky’s critique that the “prime task of the advertising industry is to ensure that uninformed consumers make irrational decisions”.

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Advertising does work towards the greater good, but that remains a sentiment not vociferously put, argues Ahmad Abu-Zannad.

Now, a true-blue ad guy would never stand for that, would he? Abu-Zannad takes aim against the negative perceptions surrounding the ad industry and how it has been made a scapegoat for as many of society’s ills as one can think of. He is not just doing it from the heart, but brings in scientific evidence and real-life case studies to suggest that the term ‘good advertising’ is not an oxymoron.

“Today more than ever, a more affirmative definition of the ad industry’s main task is needed – a definition that will optimistically sum up the realities of what the industry can achieve,” says Abu-Zannad.

In ‘Adman vs. Chomsky, he proposes four potential alternatives to define the prime task of the advertising industry. And even extends the strongly held belief that ‘advertising could become the common ground where businesses, societies and individuals can all mutually benefit’.

Strongly argued, yes, but will Abu-Zannad manage to convince the sceptics?