“From 1967 to 1970, the British author J.G. Ballard published a series of conceptual ads in several periodicals at his own expense. All five of the ads appeared in Ambit, a literary magazine where Ballard was prose editor, and the first three appeared in New Worlds, where he also published regularly and had close ties. He also ran ads in Ark — a magazine produced by postgraduate students at the Royal College of Art in London — and in “various continental alternative magazines.”
Advertising has always aimed to deliver a simply grasped proposition with the least amount of fuss and ad people still think this way. “If your idea or message is too complicated it will bewilder and confuse your audience,” advises the adman John Hegarty. Ballard’s opaque conceptual ad, on the other hand, is a sophisticated kind of détournement in the Situationist sense. It appropriates the form of its surroundings — visually it’s the most impactful ad in the issue — and shatters the expected link between the image and the text meant to support it, and scrambles the ad’s signal into irreducible complexity. There can be no shared answer to the Surrealist question it poses about the point at which the plane of intersection of Walsh’s eyes would generate a “valid image” of these disasters.
“It occurred to me about a year ago,” Ballard said in 1968, “that advertising was an unknown continent as far as the writer was concerned, a kind of virgin America of images and ideas, and that the writer ought to move into any area which is lively and full of potential.”
Of course, by the 1980s and 1990s, advertising was a regular target for culture jamming and billboard modification in the work of Adbusters and many others who questioned its dominance as public speech. But while there’s a clear line to be drawn between Ballard’s ads and later art-world subversions of advertising formats, language and style by people like Barbara Kruger, Ballard’s concepts can still seem the most provocative, despite some minor defects of design, because they are less obvious in purpose than critiques based on parody that set out to attack advertising and he is a much better writer. His motivation wasn’t to criticize the medium, even though this is an implicit side effect, but to use it as a delivery system for disseminating personal, writerly intimations of unease about the violence of the time and its media representations. Just as his stories and novels were aligned with the speculative writing coming from the new wave of science fiction, so the “Advertiser’s Announcements” can now be seen as oblique early examples of a kind of work we have come to describe in the last few years as “design fiction” or "speculative design.""
Nice writing on the subject HERE