Sunday, November 11, 2007

I don't understand.

There was a time in advertising that calling an ad "blind" was pejorative. Headlines were supposed to impart useful information that differentiated a product or service. I think a moment's look at UPS's tagline will serve as a decent example. From: "We run the tightest ship in the shipping business," To: "What can brown do for you?"

I have been told that I have an old soul. But I prefer, and always have, ads that give me more than an image and a personality. I want a reason why. As I often say, if advertising is like dating, I understand the short-term efficacy of a big-breasted blonde; said blonde may get me to sample her wares. But as far as buying goes, and a long-term relationship goes, I do want to make sure that there's something under the hood, if you understand my mixed metaphor.

I am writing all this because I hate Epson's new "Epsonality" campaign. Yes, attention getting and nicely produced--I would expect nothing less from the talented people of Butler,Shine. But there is no depth, just pangloss. At some point I'm going to shop for a new printer at a big box electronics retailer where there is no such thing as sales help. I'm going to want to know stuff. Reliability, cost of ink cartridges, you know, points of difference. Here's what I've been told by Epson: you can use their printers for scrapbooking and they print photographs. Wow, seminal.

I want more from my ads. I want to know what makes a product not like everybody else's. Otherwise it's all about price. Which is a game that no advertiser wins.


Laura said...

Are you saying you want substance? In the dumbing down of America that is obviously hard to do.

george tannenbaum said...

I don't know if it's actual dumbing down or that people believe people are dumbed down. I really think the problem with this sort of advertising is that the clients are marketing people--they think that their way of getting at Apple status is to replicate the success Apple's had in becoming part of popular culture. They haven't taken the time to learn their product, and so can't communicate its strengths to the agency (who needs to have a new campaign in market in eleven minutes) and so we wind up with a pap's smear of marketing.