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Who works at ad agencies?

October 30, 2007

 And why are they so bad at their jobs?

This really baffles me. Some people are making ridiculous salaries to come up with absolute stupidest ad campaigns. There used to be a time when commercials were funny, or cute, or campy. Memorable, but not memorable because they were just so ill-imagined. Part of the problem is the execution of the marketing campaign. Back in the day (like, 2 years ago), you used to get a variety of commercials every break. Now I feel like I’m constantly being bombarded with the same 5-6 ads over and over and over again. And most of them are terrible. I mean, not even like “oh, that’s lame”. More like “I want to kill myself after watching this” bad.

One reason for this is that I think companies are willing to shell out a crapload of money for the most popular programs. Not exactly counter-intuitive, but it’s getting out of hand. Witness Nissan, whose “Shift” commercials weren’t bad at all. Have you heard of the Nissan Rogue? Chances are if you’ve been anywhere near a TV in the past few weeks, the Rogue’s existence has been shoved down your throat. What kind of marketing is this? I’m so fucking sick of seeing that Nissan Rogue commercial that I’ll never even consider buying one. The same commercial, over and over again, every single commercial break during any sporting event. Sometimes twice per break. It’s a huge turn off. Just off the top of my head:

1) I’ll never buy a Nissan Rogue
2) I’ll never order a nachos bellgrande, and avoid TB at all costs
3) I’ll never buy a Chevy as much as I can help it (fuck you John Mellencamp)
4) Never eat at McDonalds other than breakfast because that can’t be helped
4a) Sure as shit not going to eat a super value meal in between pickup basketball games
5) Will switch from Verizon AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (“you’re my #1” makes me want to commit seppuku)

They’re are all horrible. Absolutely horrible. I don’t know what is going on with Taco Bell. The “yo quiero Taco Bell” junk was annoying, but it had a talking animal, so it was somewhat forgivable [NOTE: Always hilarious – talking animals and sexual deviance]. They really hit rock bottom with the whole “Fourth Meal” campaign. WHAT? Who in their right minds is going to use gluttony as a reason to go eat their food in 2007? What a horrible, horrible idea. While Wendy’s is stressing the importance of options in a value meal (including healthier options), Taco bell is saying “come here and get fat, you need a 4th meal!” So, so dumb. And that magnificent douche in the new Nachos Bellgrande ad, that was a real winning move there. When metrosexuals and guys with popped collars are at the butt of so many jokes, you put out an ad featuring one of those d-bags and run the fucking commercial as many times as physically possible. This is in addition to their “open until 2am” ads, which basically just encourages drunks to drive over and get some TB.

McDonalds has always been bad. They’re getting better, but I still cannot scrape from my memory their “snack time” ads where some guy missed his snack and was being chased around by bees in the office. What the christ? And the one where the two guys are smashing massive amounts of food while on a break from playing basketball. Because that’s when everyone eats fast food, in the middle of playing sports.

Verizon’s “you’re my #1” commercial might be the worst of the bunch. I’m sure you’ve seen it. If you’re like me you’ve considered carving your eyes out with a spoon after watching it (once is bad enough, but it’s probably on 300 times an hour across cable channels). I don’t understand when this marketing practice of “fuck it, our commercial sucks, just make sure we force it on people as much as possible”. The fact that this garbage is getting greenlighted at some point in the creative process is sickening. And it’s partially the consumer’s fault: these retarded ad campaigns must be working, because they’re not going away, they are getting worse.

There’s a line between getting your product in the minds of consumers (which an annoying/dumb ad can do), and pissing/turning them off with terribly conceived, acted, and executed commercials. And this line is not very thin at all. Surprisingly, these commercials are not for monopolistic companies. All of these commercials are for companies that are in highly competitive markets. I hate Verizon commercials, so I can switch to AT&T. I hate the Chevy “this is our country” crap, so I really don’t want to buy a Chevy. I could understand it if we had no choice, so they put ads out there just to remind us they’re around. But the practice of making a commercial that nobody in their right mind would think is cool, funny, smart, etc. just because you know at least it will have your logo or slogan appear somewhere in it doesn’t work. Or at least it shouldn’t. I suppose consumers are partly to blame.

The Nissan Rogue thing is forgivable, because it looks like a pretty cool vehicle, and the commercial itself isn’t inherently retarded. But they just had to go and throw like a trillion dollars at Fox and ESPN to show it during every sporting even commercial break, and I’m sick of it.

The AT&T commercial where nearly every piece of imagery looks like their “raising the bar” logo is pretty cool. It’s innovative, it obviously took some thought.  The Ford commercials that show the crazy towing/stopping power of the trucks are good. The Toyota commercials with the indestructible Tundra are usually pretty funny. It’s just that some companies don’t give a fuck any more, they put out moronic ads and people eat it up. Bud Light/Miller Lite commercials are still pretty decent, and they’re serviceable. They keep the brand fresh in the consumer’s mind without basically saying “haha, you’re an idiot, here’s our logo, now go buy this”. There’s some effort there. That’s all that is needed. Verizon/Taco Bell need to just clean house on their ad consulting.

Take a stance. Refuse to buy crap from companies that insult your consumer intelligence by shoveling shit at you and expecting you to bask in it.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Adam permalink*
    October 30, 2007 5:50 pm

    I have a Chevy, and it is produced in South Korea by Daewoo and then shipped here. So unless John Melloncamp is from Soeul, then I’m not sure which country it is that he is singing about.

    If you want to feel good about buying a car from an American car company without actually having to drive a car that looks like it was made by an American car company, this is the way to go. Just don’t pretend you are supporting American auto workers.

  2. Adam permalink*
    October 30, 2007 10:58 pm

    Also, the DHL commercial that mocks Kenny Lofton being traded so many times was pretty good. It would have been funnier if they weren’t playing it every commercial break during the ALDS.

  3. Keri permalink
    November 5, 2007 11:51 am

    They piss me off too and I hate to say it, but they’re doing it because we respond to it. It is our fault. You have to see an ad 11 times before it has an effect on you and studies show you are more likely to buy a brand you hate over one you dont’ recognize. So as much as they annoy us, most of us will still buy it. And then talk about it over and over again, bringing it to the attention of others and reminding ourselves of the brand.

    I’m with you on being pissed off and then avoiding something, however, we’re in the minority and it’s usually something I wouldn’t have bought anyway. And a commercial is not usually annoying enough to make someone switch if they aren’t having any problems with the service or if the reputation of the brand they bought hasn’t changed completely. I think the only thing that commercials do is make us hate the ad companies and wonder what the companies were thinking. Did you eat McDonalds a lot before (excpet breakfast fo course)? Did you ever really want to buy a Chevy?

    Quite frankly a good add doesn’t even mean you will buy something. I miss the Volkswagen adds – I thought they were very creative and very well focused on our generation but I’ll never buy one. So why spend the money if a great add won’t make you buy the product and a bad add will still get you to buy it over a brand you haven’t heard of?

  4. Adam permalink*
    November 5, 2007 1:06 pm

    I saw a good ad yesterday–the new Cadillac ad with Kate Walsh in it where she says what choosing a car comes down to is “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?” I like it…simple yet effective.

  5. andy permalink*
    November 5, 2007 1:22 pm

    The real question is why anyone buys American cars at all, especially considering the resale value. A Civic will sell for so much more after a few years than a Focus will, and they’re virtually the same price brand new (the Civic may be slightly more, but the resale value makes up for it).

    Cadillac and Pontiac have good commercials with good music that make their cars look cool and fun. Chevy’s are like “hyuck hyuck, buy it because it’s a Chevy and you love the 1950s when everyone drove one so buy one now” They also imply that since I am American, I should buy an American car. This is terrible logic. If we followed this sort of logic we’d all have shitty cars, shitty electronics, shitty computers, etc.

    Brand loyalty is something I simply don’t buy into. I’m a consumer whore and can be bought out, except in cases where it’s just too inconvenient (i.e., switching from my parent’s Verizon plan to my own AT&T plan halfway through my current contract). I’ll buy an American car when they can put out a product that is superior to foreign cars.

  6. Adam permalink*
    November 5, 2007 1:53 pm

    So you are saying you hate America? Nice.

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