Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Advertising Game

My brother was an advertising man many years ago, working for some of the top agencies in New York and Boston.  Of his craft, he told me the one and only reason for advertising to exist was to get everyone to buy the product, regardless of how cheesy, awful, crappy, grotesque, dangerous, or useless the product was.

Now we can apply those adjectives to the ads/commercials themselves, along with some others I bet you can come up with.  There is no dearth of dumb ads.  Pepsico, which owns the Mountain Dew brand, created a commercial that turned out to be not only outrageously offensive to African-Americans, women and, perhaps goats everywhere, but its premise, in my opinion, was unbelievably stupid and ineffective.  And even though the commercial was never meant to air on television, it still made its way to the Internet.  There have been other ads which were recently yanked because of clearly offensive ideas.

What gets into the minds of those creating these kinds of ads to sink into the morass of questionable taste?  Okay, it's not just questionable taste.  It's downright sleazy, racist, pandering, misogynistic and/or vulgar.  What audience does this stuff play to?

This is not a plea for politically correct advertising. But companies want to sell their stuff, not have it associated with trashy ideas that get a lot of the public turning against them.  The ad men/women who think this crap up are in the wrong business.  And those company idiots who okay the ads are clearly derelict in their duties.

Not many ads/commercials get me to buy the products but I do appreciate the creativity when an ad makes me smile or laugh or is very clever.  I get totally turned off ads that denigrate, assume the public is stupid and/or is so esoteric that it makes no sense.  Unfortunately, the majority of ads fall into this category.  I particularly dislike ads for pharmaceuticals.  The disclaimers are so lengthy, listing all the awful possibilities of things that can go wrong.  Why in gawds name would anyone EVER buy any of those things. Very little can cure but they sure can kill.  Consequently, the mute button on my TV remote gets constant use and I'm so happy to record shows so I can fast forward through all those horrendously awful commercials.

My advice to ad houses?  Just the facts without the meanness and stupidity.