Disgusting advertising campaigns do more than anger people; they also bring shame on the marketing profession. In addition to calling for a boycott of the products themselves, Scott G suggests the marketing industry refuse to hire the creators of the ads.
There are bad ads and then there are Really Bad Ads. We all have our favorite worst commercials, and you’re more than welcome to let me know your choices. As of December 2006, here are the ones that bother me the most.
Not in the Pink
Using hip hop music to sell products may be annoying or cool depending on the talent of the performers and the shamelessness of the marketers. The nadir of this approach was found in the commercials for an otherwise helpful product called Pepto-Bismol.
In what was surely a case of ads creating the nausea that Pepto-Bismol cures, the television campaign over the past two years presented a vile, sickening and downright stupid music-and-dance routine that named all the symptoms P-B is supposed to relieve. Adding insult to injury, the company Web site had some sort of game where people (morons, I can only assume) would select characters and dance moves.
Some people find it humorous when bad taste goes this far. Others find it disgusting that something this ugly is allowed to be broadcast into people’s homes. Still others are just hurt by the commercial when their jaws hit the floor as they view this monstrosity.
In an attempt to soften the blow, the live action characters have recently become animated animals of some kind. I know they’re not real but I think PETA should protest anyway.
For decades, the slogan was “don’t squeeze the Charmin,” meant to imply that the rolls of toilet tissue were soft and, oh I don’t know, fun to play with. Today, Charmin has resorted to cute animation of bears so that viewers will think of the old punchline, “Does a bear crap in the woods?” And to allow bad jokes to be made about this being the tissue for bare bottoms.
Annoying? Stupid? Insulting? Well, does a bear…? You know.
The Nose Knows
Mucinex gets its message into your home via a talking glob of mucus. Need I say more?
Toeing the Line
More animated insults, this time for prescription Lamisil. Scraping its way under a toenail and causing an infection is something called Digger the Dermatophyte. Yes, it’s as revolting as it sounds.
Bimbo on a Scooter
All oil companies think we’re stupid. They think we don’t mind their polluting the planet while picking our pockets. In particular, Exxon (now ExxonMobile) thinks you have enough memory loss that their gargantuan oil spill has passed from your consciousness. So, they are presenting nice images of a twit on a scooter driving past landmarks in Europe while saying how gleeful she is about working on recyclable products made by the rapacious corporation. If this is the best marketing they can come up with, they better be spending a fortune on lobbying and public relations because this spot is laughable. A committee decision if ever there was one.
Can We Work Together?
In each case above, I call upon everyone to purchase competing products. I also feel that those of us in the marketing, advertising and communication industries should refuse to hire anyone associated with these campaigns. Creative, product management, research, media, and brand management personnel on these accounts should be shunned and forcibly nudged into another line of work more suitable to their lack of taste and talent. Politics and contract killing come immediately to mind.
[tags]G-Man, Scott G, Communication Nation, advertising, marketing, ad rants, bad ads[/tags]