Thursday, December 3, 2009

Your call is important to us.

Three centuries ago, Dr. Samuel Johnson wrote "Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement."

That's always seemed right to me. Our job is to promise something to viewers--whether it's youth, getting the girl, quenching your thirst, or eternal cool-osity.

Now here's where our industry jumps off the tracks. Promises have to be true, or at least within the realm of truth, or people simply don't believe you any more.

Yesterday I saw an ad for Buick that made a promise so obviously a lie that is made my blood curdle. "Buick. The new class in world class."

How do you ascribe truthiness to that sentence?

I'm sorry. I know since we own GM we're probably supposed to want to see it rebound. But any company that can so blatantly lie to consumers, that can so obviously ignore its past, that can so bombastically proclaim itself great deserves to die.

This isn't about the actual quality of the car.
It's about how you speak, how you treat and respect your customers.
You have to earn the right to make a statement like "the new class..."
And Buick has earned no such right.

1 comment:

Graham said...

Yeah, even if you look at it from a purely marketing perspective, it misses the mark. As you say, it's pretty easy to see through the cloud-piling. And once you get past the cutesy turn of phrase, the sentence itself is kind of meaningless.

In my experience, meaningless and self-important slogans don't generally connect with the target audience.

I suspect they are trying to get all the people who would have bought an Olds -- after all, Buick was always the younger, hipper brother. Now it's got to play both roles, so there's bound to be some confusion. Maybe they should go with: "Buick: Not Your Father's Oldsmobile".

('Course the real trick will be to get Saturn owners to slide behind the wheel of a Cobalt...)

~Graham