Friday, August 4, 2023

This is What Passes for Advertising Today. Four or Twenty-four Examples.

When I went out on a sunny Sunday, my "promotions" email box was empty. When I returned to it a few hours later, it was full.

It was full of dozens of messages that are so devoid of caring or thinking, they actually make me mad at the brands who are spamming me.

Everybody in the agency business seeks to find ways to measure the effectiveness of advertising. But very few entities measure the effect on sales of advertising that's so dumb, so repetitious or so shrill that it actually drives you away from the brand being advertised.

Maybe, as a veteran of the business, I am overly affected and annoyed by bad work. But I can't be the only one. 

Many people will avoid a QSR that's slovenly, a car that's not well-engineered, or an airline that's always late. Performance in real-life and in the face you show to the public matters. At least to me.

Yet hundreds of times a day, I see ads in my email, my social feeds, in outdoor and on TV that are so aggressively bad they actually repel me. There's no point in getting noticed if people dislike what they're noticing. 

A lot of crap comes from trying to do an expensive job cheaply. Applauding yourself regarding how much money you've saved--not how much money your cheapness cost in lost business and customer suppression. 

In the 14th or early 15th century, an English poet writing in Latin wrote a 10,000 line poem called "Vox Clamantis in Deserto." It is not about having clams for dessert. It means a voice crying in the desert. Oh well. Pass the cocktail sauce.


The "first-ever" moniker is widely-used by car-makers and their brain-dead agencies. If you change the name of your car--not your engineering, design, carbon footprint, safety features--just the name, of course it's the "first-ever." As in "Introducing the first-ever Buick Artichoke." Who cares? And what does it mean? Nothing.


Cut to two men crawling on their hands and knees through the desert sand. Vultures circle overhead. The sun is radiating a blistering heat.

One guy turns to the other and says, "Why didn't you bring water?"

The other guy replies, "I would have but the bottle weighed .04 ounces and I swore I wouldn't carry anything that weighed more than .0375 ounces."

"You should have gotten YETI'S new lightest water bottle yet."

They die.

And scene.


Yes! Help me, Wells Fargo! Help me, dear Mrs. Lonelyhearts.

I've already forgotten the $1 billion settlement from May--three whole months ago--levied against you for opening fake accounts for customers who never asked for them.

I've forgotten the $2 billion you were fined in 2022 for violating a "host of federal consumer laws between 2011 and 2022."

I've forgotten about this, this and this. Please, Wells Fargo, help me! Help me!


Thank you, Kia America. Until I saw your scintillating (electrifying) subject line, I didn't know there was even a possibility to drive electric. 

You gave me no reasons why I should drive a Kia or an electric one, so you must have the only electric car on the market. Thank you for giving me the information I need to make an informed decision.

Your subject line reminded me of this joke, at :42.

I also got all this crap.

As an industry, as clients, why can't we do better? Oh, because we don't care.

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