BioBooksAwardsComing NextContactBlogFun StuffHome

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Death of Advertising As Entertainment

For those who don't know this, I was an advertising copywriting major in college. I never worked in the field, but I love good advertising and have happily paid to watch the Clio Award reel. (The Clio Award is for the best of the best in advertising.) Advertising has drastically changed over the past decade or so, and I hate to say this, but IMO, not for the better.

My personal pet peeve is radio advertising. In the last five years, I can only remember one set of radio ads that impressed me. The Bud Light series that honored the Real American hero, for example: "This is for you Mr. Pickled Pigs Foot Eater because it takes guts to eat those feet." These ads were fabulous and I used to listen for them. You can find a list of downloadable Bud Light radio ads HERE, if you want to hear what clever radio ads sound like. :-)

Most radio advertising, however, leaves me gnashing my teeth and vowing to redo my portfolio to get into the business. Maybe I couldn't do any better, (although I think the course work I had to turn in for college was better than 90% of the radio ads I hear in the Twin Cities), but I'd sure like to try. There is no entertainment in most of the spots. None. And I find most of them to be embarrassingly bad. Of course, with radio, many ads are only played locally or regionally, so it could easily vary drastically from one area of the country to another.

Television advertising, however, is much more national. I'm generally just as unimpressed with this venue, although I rarely gnash my teeth--yet. Right now, I just mutter something along the lines of, "Oh, my God" and quickly change the station. ;-)

Television has always had a mix of ads, some hard sell, some slice of life, some humorous, some celebrity pitch stuff, etc, but the entertainment quotient seemed to be higher. I used to anticipate the Super Bowl every year for the cool ads. The last two years, I've been hugely disappointed. Instead of cleverness, the idea behind the vast amount of the "humorous" ads is to have someone acting stupidly, or worse yet, boorishly. And we're supposed to find this funny? I think I hate these ads more than the ones that are just plain boring.

I read an article recently that talked about the death of traditional advertising. Maybe new technologies would have killed it eventually anyway, but I think advertising over the last 5-10 years has been strangling itself. Why would people want to watch these ads when most of them are stupid and/or boring? Of course, we're going to flip away or zap the ads--anything to get away from them.

But you know what? I love the AFLAC commercials with the duck. I usually watch baseball with the sound muted, but as soon as I see one of these ads, I reach for the remote and turn up the volume. It doesn't matter how many times I've seen the Yogi Berra commercial, I still enjoy it. This is how you get people to sit through the ads, you entertain them as well as pitch the product. The AFLAC ad does a great job of this. I remember the product name and I know what the product is.

Severe weather rolling through. I have to end here and get off the computer.