Monday, July 26, 2010

What advertising can't do.

I am a believer in advertising. Not because I am in the business but because I've seen it, time and again, shape consumer perceptions and behaviors. I believe the right message delivered to the right audience with the right frequency works.

This morning I heard a short report on credit card issuers (banks) on NPR. Because of the recession, changes in behavior and new legislation, the banks are losing purported billions they used to take for granted.

So, they're introducing something they're calling an "inactivity fee." That is, you get charged extra if you don't use your card.

Surely these banks and credit card companies will send millions or billions showing smiling people using their cards in Rio or in fine restaurants on the sloping hillside of a vineyard somewhere. In your TV induced stupor you'll nod your head and take it all in.

Then if you're paying attention, you'll see an inactivity fee on your bill.

All the advertising in the world won't/can't make you feel good about a brand with behavior like that.

Advertising can do a lot of things. But it can't erase the smell of shit when the shit is sent to your mailbox once a month.

Like me you'll want to throw a brick through some bank's plate glass.

I've got a can of beans and Quaker Quick Oats in my kitchen that have been sitting in the cabinets since the late 90s. They haven't charged me extra. Yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This line from Jim Thompson's "The Killer Inside Me" reminds me of every "genius" I ever worked with in advertising:

"Like always, he wasn't hearing anything he didn't want to hear."