Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Summer of Wonder sales event.

There's a Volvo commercial running now that I can hardly believe. 

As my old boss, Ed Butler, might have commented, "it's flat as a plate of piss." Except that would be unfair to plates and piss.

It shows the requisite thin and attractive people--get this--going somewhere in a--get this--Volvo. There are oblique shots of the car, perhaps enough to give you an oblique sense of what it obliquely looks like.

Along the way, there's a VO that sounds like it won third place in a junior high poetry contest. I suppose it said something about living life and following dreams and new roads.

Some years ago after Ford sold Volvo to the Chinese, their new owners said they were going to sell 100,000 cars in the US by 2016. Today they sell less than half that. My guess is by 2025 or sooner, they will leave the US market, failing to attain critical sales mass.

Whereas they used to stand for safety and Swedish non-conformist sensibleness, today they are just another blandmobile with no distinct identity or qualities. They used to be sturdy, sensible, safe boxes. Now they are as devoid of character as a filing cabinet.

It bothers me to see such work. For two reasons.

One. Volvo used to do such great work. People of my vintage and older in the industry studied Scali's Volvo ads, and before that Ally's Volvo ads, and from overseas AMV's Volvo ads. A brand was built that's all but disappeared, that's all but meaningless.

Two. Work like this is bad for our industry. It says to the world we are little more than pretty plasticine pictures and are empty emotional-esq platitudes. There's plenty of craft--the commercial looks good--but no meaning.

There are some reading this, I'm sure, who will perhaps take exception. They'll trumpet something about having to sell in a new way for a new audience and how TV is merely a vestige of a former superpower.

I don't buy any of that for a minute. With the exception of Amazon and Google, no brand has been built to viability without TV. And Amazon doesn't yet make a profit.

Einstein said, "god does not play dice with the Universe." Well, I don't think the universe is all relative. There is absolute good and absolute evil.

Our job is not hard when you break it down.

Get attention.
Communicate a benefit.

Too much advertising fails on all three marks.

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