November 9, 2010

Recently I have noticed that there has been a big increase in advertising that has little to do with the actual product.  This isn’t a new phenomenon but it gets to the point where it is misleading or even borderline predatory.  Let me explain.  I saw a commercial for a push button life saving thing, think “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up“, and they spoke about the call center and dispatch and ease of use.  These are all geared to the adult children of the end user.  They see it, think it’s a good idea and convince their parents that they need it.  Well recently they added a new target audience to their ads, the old people themselves.  At the end of the commercial the elderly women said “I actually feel younger”.  I can just imagine the meeting where they came up with this line.  “What is it that old people like?” “Eating dinner early?” “Blue hair?” “Velcro shoes?” “They want to feel younger, let’s add something about that at the end!”  What is it about a ball chain with a garage door opener on it that makes the lady feel any younger?  Her eyesight isn’t so bad that she thinks it’s fashionable, and don’t tell me that she feels younger because of the perceived freedom that she has. Don’t drink the koolade.

Let’s not forget the Brinks/ADT ads where they have some dark figure intimidating a child or single woman.  Next I bet they come up with some justification of how not having a home alarm causes cancer in baby seals.

Then we have Howie Long and Hyundai standing around talking about how bad their competition is.  These are absurd but they have all been trumped recently by Audi.  They put out an ad where a small child sits on a bed looking at a poster of a Ferrari F430 and says in a zombie-like state “I have been to desire red italian sports cars“.   The point of the statement is that Audi’s new R8 will help him break out of the spell, make him an individual and will move him away from the look of italian sports cars.  This would be fine if anyone else made this commercial, but Audi owns Lamborghini, a high end italian sports car company.  Not only that, but the engine in the R8 comes from a Lambo.  In essence they are saying “Exotic italian sports cars are predictable, here is an uglier and slower one”.

Then there are ads that are so ridiculous that I am confused that they even exist.   1800 Tequila touts a top that can pour a shot by turning over the bottle.  Thank goodness it can pour a shot because I can buy semi-premium tequila, but not a shot glass.  It should say “My tequila has a hollow top that will help you spill alcohol all over the place.” (forgive the actual person in the video, but throwing Tequila all over the place happens to everyone, including those who don’t sit at home video taping themselves in sweatshirts)

As far as I am concerned there should be 3 types of ads on television listed here in no particular order.

1. Informative – I would like to know how fast your car goes, how good smelling your shampoo is, how low your interest rate is and what types of ugly furniture I am avoiding by not going to your store.  These are helpful, time saving tips that we can all appreciate.

2. Responsible – Liberty Mutual has made a series of “Memento” type ads revolving around paying it forward in every day circumstances.  I say well done.  Glee and some credit card are doing something similar just in a more annoying way. How am I supposed to fast forward through the commercials when all of the actors are in the commercial.

3. Funny – Progressive’s weak attempts at humor do not fall into the category.  These include Bigfoot closelining a youth across a field, the “Mayhem” commercials namely the football team one and the teenage girl one, and any commercial where a man gets hit in the nuts or has a sledding accident, think Vonage.

If your ad does not fit into one of these three categories please stop polluting the airwaves.  I am only trying to help.  People watch the Superbowl live and quietly watch the ads, not because the football is boring but because the ads show marked improvement over all others during the rest of the year.  There is also an element of ethics  involved.  Stop lying, deceiving and misleading potential customers, do the responsible thing and show a child wrecking a tricycle instead.