Flipping through television channels, I paused on a Major League Soccer game in the US. The play was unspectacular, but the advertising caught my attention. Instead of the usual suspects of major brands, I spotted the touting of immigration lawyers. The game was being played in Los Angeles and is popular with folks from countries to the south of the United States. Lawyers, who know how to chase an ambulance, are alleged to be smart cookies: they know where to troll for victims.
You would see such an advertising board in any other county. Other countries have problems with illegal immigrants, but lawyers are rarely involved. This is something truly American…
Finally, a good television commercial….
creative, humorous, impactful, surprising, entertaining.
A black man stares at a television.
In the kitchen, a white pregnant women searches through cupboards and the refrigerator. Satisfaction seems to elude her.
The man enters a convenience shop and searches the shelves.
The man is confronted by the door of another shop being locked.
The man searches the shelves of a gas station food and drink section.
Finally, wandering the nighttime streets, he spots a McDonalds shining like a beacon in the dark.
He speaks with a young girl at the counter, who smiles and nods knowingly.
The pregnant woman sits in front of the television not looking happy.
The man enters and places a paper bag with the familiar logo on her belly. She looks skeptical.
Final scene: she opens the Big Mac box to discover….pickle slices.
No words, but a clear message.
Most car advertising is dumb, but a new winner must be crowned. A recently seen (I think it ran during the Super Bowl) Cadillac ad is the dumbest of the dumb. This is a non sequitur to end all non sequiturs. If this car was conceived in a garage, then it needs to stay there..with the door closed.
I wrote yesterday about Chrysler Super Bowl ad, which I had read about but not seen. Below is an opinion piece from The New Yorker, by one of their excellent editors, which describes the ad and its missing the target. I am happy that I did not see it, because the short time I have on this earth is surely better used than watching bad advertising.
She also describes the Coke ad that run during the Super Bowl, which sounds better than the Chrysler one. This ad had already caused a stir and made headlines. I had read about panic attacks in the Right Wing media that this commercial caused. When they started turning on Coke, the essence of America, then the apocalypse must be near. I never doubted that these people are stupid fools/idiots/jerks/hypocrits...take your pick.
Of course, some find humor in everything...
Since started writing this worthless blog, the first national election in Germany is taking place. Some might not have noticed, because anyone blinking will miss the event and its run-up. And, if you blink, you will miss the advertising, because it is permitted only for four weeks prior to the election. On top of that, all parties must receive equal time in the media, for which they must not pay. That means that one sees as much television advertising for a party that will receive less than one percent of the vote as one sees for Angie’s party, which will receive around 40 percent.
All advertising is boring and poorly constructed. Some is downright bad. Slogans on posters, which are plastered along streets (again, only for four weeks) are naive and often completely stupid. I even saw one demanding the “end of fascism”, which caused to wonder if these hopeful politicians are living in the same country in which the election is taking place. Smiling faces of, mostly, unattractive politicians are a blight on the landscape. At least, we must look at these ugly faces for only a short time...unless they win the election.
Of course, this is a refreshing alternative to the US election farce, which the world must endure, it seems, with no end.
I recall a television advertisement for some cold remedy, the name of which I cannot remember. But, for memorability, the ad line was a winner. It ran “A summer cold is a different animal.”
The thing is, like much advertising, reality is something different. A cold is a cold, whether one is afflicted in the summer or winter or any season in between. Perhaps, because the weather is warmer, one feels less burdened. That said, a sore throat is just as painful and a cough just as aggravating. Equal amounts of tissues are needed, with the season having no affect.
I have been susceptible to sore throats for as long as I can remember. Before the product was removed from the market (who knows why), I found relief with Cepacol. I carried a spray bottle wherever I traveled in the world, reaching for it each time I felt a telltale tickle. The prevented the cold from spreading to my sinuses, which is the usual chain of events. Since I no longer find that wonder medication, I am forced to let nature run its unpleasant course.
Pity is unnecessary....
I am not in the practice of recommending products, but I will make an exception in the case of something I recently bought. This is the kind of machine that one might see advertised for sale on some television shopping channel, with some character touting its benefits and sensational price offer...if you call immediately. I have never fallen for such tactics and never will. But...
I am talking about a handheld window washing machine from Karcher, a German company known for high-pressure water machines. I own one, which works very well in cleaning terrace tiles, garbage cans, wheels, etc. Despite my satisfaction, I was skeptical about their latest offer.
Years ago, during my advertising agency phase, I worked on the Colgate Palmolive account. One of the brands was a window washing liquid. Because Colgate was/is a cheap company, unlike its competitors that spend heavily on advertising, we were forced to come up with television commercials to convince consumers of the efficacy of this liquid in ten seconds. The standard length was thirty seconds, but that was too expensive for Colgate. I do not recall the advertising copy, but do recall not having much luck cleaning windows.
Over the years, we have used a window washer in times of sloth, but I still had to clean up after the guy. He tended to leave drops of dirty water on window sills and floors. Some windows in the house have not been washed for years (one can still see out), because I did not want the drippy guy in the room. I have also washed windows using a spray solution and paper towels, when I felt the cleanliness (or, rather, lack there of) had reached an embarrassing state.
I would never have bought a window washing machine, regardless of impressive advertising demonstrations (see above about earlier career). But, I passed a display in a building supply store and decided to give the thing a whirl, despite passing up the chance on other occasions. I was so impressed, that I bought the thing.
Now, I can sit in any room and marvel at my accomplishment...and see clearly. The thing works wonders and is very easy to use. I believe that the key is in the washing solution, which one must buy from them--not Colgate. Not unlike with razor blades, the company makes money on replacement fluid. But, I do not care. It does a better job and is cheaper than a window cleaning guy and does a much better job than I could do with traditional methods.
If you hate washing windows, then get yourself a Karcher thingy.
Anyone not wishing to endure worthless opinions, stupid questions, or inane comments should chose a profession which few understand. A brain surgeon, mathematician, or astronaut, to name a few, seldom, if ever, hear criticisms about their work. No one understands what they do or how they do it.
At the other end of the scale is advertising, about which almost every human being, at some point in his or her life, has voiced an opinion or uttered a negative comment. Everyone feels qualified to criticize advertising, because having an opinion surely makes them right.
People working at advertising agencies must suffer from frustration and inadequacy more than people working in an operating room. People going under the knife rarely complain to the guy holding the knife, whereas people buying advertising for companies constantly sharpshoot at the guys selling the ads produced by an agency.
I was amused by this line in a Time article:
Keira Knightley’s latest Chanel advertisement has been banned during children’s programming in the United Kingdom because it was deemed “too sexy.”
I have not seen the ad, but I have one question. Why would Chanel want to advertise its fragrance on a children’s program? I would hope that media planners would understand something about targeting potential consumers.
I just watched the commercial.
I do not understand the beef. This is far less innocuous than much programming I have watched on British television and far from anything seen of US cable. And, England is a country in which a major newspaper runs naked women in every edition.
Perhaps, this decision was driven by English twits wishing to hurt a French company...
Don’t know if this works, but it’s clever and entertaining...
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.