Saturday, January 15, 2011

Top 10 Advertising ideas that are SO PLAYED! (That means they suck)

I like advertising.  Really, I do.  There are several reasons.  First, how would I know what to buy if it weren't for advertising?  I would sit in my empty house with my bank full of money and I would not have any fun stuff or stuff that I thought would be fun.  Second. Advertising might be the most challenging form of media entertainment that we have.  It's lightening fast but tries to get your attention AND evoke an emotional response before letting you go with the vain hope of keeping it's product or message on your mind.  Funny thing is, I often remember a commercial without being able to remember the product.  That is the hallmark of a good media company that makes crappy commercials.  Let me give you an example.  GREAT commercial.  Shake N Bake presents the product with a bunch of thick accented southerners (seriously, how much fried chicken do they eat in Minnesota?) and the tag line at the end 'It's shake n bake deddy an we haelped' has stuck with me throughout my life.  Have I ever actually purchased a box of the product?  no.  But it's in my head all the same.  There are several commercials that are like that for me.  I know both the commercial and the product.  Another example of the opposite.  The diamond commercial where the guy gives the girl a little box with a bow on it and she opens the box while her mouth opens at the same time with awe and amazement.  Who was that ad?  Beats me.  But If I see it again, I will want you to put my eyes out.

Here is the problem.  For all of the fun and creative commercials there are out there there are thousands of heavy handed hack commercials that only try to copy the success of another commercial.  I very much blame suits for this.  I can't blame a company for wanting to cut costs but in this case I see that there are a lot of themes that commercials have taken to the point of being annoying.

10.  Pro-Biotic - This apparently means good for your colon which invariably means good for poop.  My only question with this new BUZZ word is.  If I store my pro-biotic things next to my tubes of Neosporin, what will happen?  Yes, I know, painfully clever and yet just as clever as hearing PRO-BIOTIC all over the place.  I suppose it would mean a lot more to me if any given trip to the bathroom would make me want to give up national secrets.

9.  Green - SAVE THE PLANET!!!  I got news for ya.  We can't.  Doesn't matter who caused it (BTW if it was man made, it wasn't the cars that did it, it was the exhaling of all the collective breaths of all the creatures on the planet.)  Yes, I know all you Al Goreans are up in arms about this, but anyway...  Apparently enough people are convinced that this is important in a 'Give your change to the Salvation Army while people are looking' kind of way that it's a buzz word in advertising.  Now everything worth buying is worth buying GREEN.  yay.  If Green means more expensive, or doesn't work as well then it doesn't mean much to me and it will probably sway me off of your product anyway.

8.  Your a busy person - Duh, I know I'm busy.  Well I guess I'm not THAT busy because I'm writing this blog.  But I'm busy enough that when I see a commercial with a harried individual rushing about only to find that your product will save him precious minutes from his harried day I keep thinking Will this keep this person from being harried?  No.  This person (Typically a Type A or AA) will over fill their lives with other perceived obligations so they are just as harried as they were before the advent of your wonderful de-harri-ing device.  There, I believe I've used the word harried more times in one paragraph than anyone else in history.

7.  Men are idiots - This has been going on ever since I was a young kid.  When I was a kid, it was mostly Asian and Caucasian men that were idiots, but now in the enlightened new millennium men of all races colors and creeds are clueless morons.  Why?  Well because while we are probably not as dumb as they make us out to be, we are dumb enough to go to work and make money and not really have time to complain about it.  So that insult probably hurts twice.  Once because it's overstated, and once because it's true.  It doesn't mean I will appreciate seeing it over and over and over...and over again.

6.  Kids are smart - This is a corollary to the above mentioned Men are Idiots.  I often thought to myself hey, why aren't women the idiots?  The truth was, in the older days of advertising, men were the smarty pants always showing their women a better way.  Of course men also always wore suits and fedoras and even a bum had a fairly nice pair of shoes.  But I digress.  How can we make women the idiots in commercials?  Easy, bring the smartest beings in the universe into the commercial.  Kids.  Everyone knows that kids are smarter than mom and dad combined.  I got news for you.  Kids are idiots.  That's right.  Idiots.  They don't come up with anything new or original just because we haven't heard it before doesn't mean it hasn't been done a hundred times. We devise ways to make them look smart because as parents we all want to think that our kids are superior to other kids on the planet.  They aren't.  They are all about the same level of dumb.  How do I know this?  Because we spend a lot of money and time educating them and if they were smart we probably wouldn't bother, instead we would put them to work trying to figure out why they get more stupid with age and solving the problem so that future generations can remain smart..  We pound all the knowledge we can into their brains so they can function in society.  But in Advertising world, all humans start out as smart (even babies), grow to be stupid adults, and then age to be either even dumber old people, or hyper intelligent old people that have a handle on all of the things the smart young people are into.

5.  Mammals are smart, Insects are dumb - Did I say kids were smart?  Well step aside.  Animals can talk.  First it was just Smokey Bear (Why they INSIST on taking out the THE  that everyone likes to use is beyond me, but maybe it's because he's so damn smart).  He would wander around in his deep bear voice and tell us 'ONLY YOU' can prevent forest fires.  Pretty condescending for a bear I think.  But now we have all kinds of woodland creatures that are telling us what car to drive, what kind of material to recycle, and all kinds of other 'silly human' behaviors that we need to alter.  Furry mammals are actually just as smart as kids.  Insects on the other hands are the scheming scheisters of the commercial world. Smart, but only in a stupid henchman kind of way.  Oddly enough, when we deal with these insects, we usually have a MAN step in to kill them.  Whew!  I thought we had outlived our usefulness.

4.  Men are cavemen - Back to Men again.  Am I beating a dead horse?  Am I overly sensitive?  I don't think so.  If we stereo-typed anyone else to the level that advertising stereotypes men we would have protests all over the place (Taco bell dog, I'm looking at you).  You see, in advertising, men are only allowed to look smart in one of a several ways.  If they are talking to other men about their prostate.  If they are wearing a lab-coat.  If they are by themselves thinking about insurance (but not with their spouse, then they are back to stupid again).  So what about when men are being themselves?  Beer swilling womanizing one track minded bits of perverted flesh that are so easy to be sold to that really all we need is new ways of telling the same joke (Oh look, that guy developed another way of holding even more beer in his apartment, he must be the GENIUS of their species).  Sports men are the cavemen.  Driven to crush opposition in all its forms on or off the battlefield.  Tough men need a tough deodorant while they are driving their single frame  constructed hemispheric engine to their smart job managing the finances of the world afterward coming home to their prize wife that adores them and thinks of them as smart.  Unless, of course, he's not the subject of the commercial, then he's 'My husband, some hotshot, here's his ancient Chinese Secret...'

3.  Insurance is a product - I've noticed an increase in commercials that have insurance in boxes or envelopes along with visual themes of what insurance is doing.  I'll tell you what insurance is doing.  Taking your dollar and giving 85 cents back to you.  That's not a product, that's a scheme, or a casino, take your pick. 

2.  We understand medical terminology - Every drug ad out there will take so much time expressing the horrible side effects of their drug that it's far more entertaining than the actual ad itself.  'May induce explosive diarrhea in some patients.  If you experience abnormal nose growth for more than 2 hours see a physician as you may have a symptom of a more serious condition.  Side effects include but are not limited to dry mouth, third leg, bleached hair, excessive hair growth on the elbows or increased propensity for smart-ass remarks.'  Did our doctors ever tell us this stuff when they were giving us a prescription?  I don't think so.  In fact, I don't think they even told us the drug 1/2 the time.  We have to go to our ever trustworthy pharmacist for those little facts.

1.  Women are vain frail creatures that are just hairs breadth away from falling apart. - I had a bit about holiday advertising in this spot that really wasn't very good, as I was re-reading I realized I didn't put in a nod to the fairer sex.  You see, most advertising realizes that women hold the purse strings.  Since they hold the purse strings, we had better start aiming our stuff at them.  Some ads are more obvious than others.  The advertisers know more about women than the average man does (as do kids and animals).  The one thing they know, is their Achilles's heel - vanity.  vanity is of course different than the male counterpart ego.  It's more specialized to the area of looks.  So women are constantly shown pictures of other women that are younger, thinner and hotter than they are in order to sell them some miracle serum that will 'REVERSE THE AGING PROCESS'.  I got news for ya.  Beauty is like a job resume, a good one will get you an interview, but it won't get you the job.  The funny thing is, most women are painfully aware of the arena in which they compete and none of that matters.  The amount of the money in the industry proves it.  This is a lot of stress.  So much in fact that there are a lot of OTHER ads targeting women for pain relief of various sorts not to mention more serious ailments.  Depression is another one pretty much aimed at women.  'Do you show signs of depression?  Do you hate getting up in the morning?  Do you no longer enjoy activities you used to enjoy?'  These broad questions may in fact point to depression, OR they may point to a drug with some fantastic side effects that you can take because life got the better of you today.  I'm really not sure what women did one hundred years ago without all of these products to help prop them up.  Maybe men were smarter back then.

Well, I still love commercials as well as advertising.  I just think that it's time for most of them to be just a hair more creative.  Tell your friends!  Got an idea for a list of ten?  Tell me!


Slrpycow said...

What about a nod to the best and worst ways to earn a living?

Things you never want to hear as you get home from work, or from your spouse or kids?

A few that come to mind.

swampthings said...

Excellent treatise on the idiocy of kids.

Great blog!

Anonymous said...

The photo of the boy reading the book is mine and that is my son. Please either give credit to me as the photographer and my son Braxton or take down the photo. Thank you.

Angie Hill

Macotar said...

Boy reading book is a fine picture of Braxton Hill taken by his mother Angie Hill. All attributions are given to them for that photo.

I actually have no real way of verifying if that is in fact the truth, but assuming it is, assume it credited to them. Thanks!