by Robert Enyeart
Is it just me, or do advertisers think that as a whole us consumers are stupid, or otherwise just don’t plain pay attention? For the most part, commercials are pretty straight forward (in a biased way), and the advertisers play on the positive traits of their product or service…or at the very least they play down the negative aspects.
I think that most of us have accepted the fact that our Big Mac never looks the same as it does on TV, nor does reciting a jingle for our insurance agent to appear actually work, but some commercials I’ve seen lately seem to not even try.
Take the Passages Malibu rehab center commercial. If you’re not familiar with it, it seems to appear during daytime television and perhaps very late night. It has the requisite fancy setting, with the attractive bikini-clad blond in the pool at sunset looking off into the distance (I don’t know what exactly this has to do with showcasing the professional qualifications of this rehab center). Alas, we are greeted by the gentleman who owns the center and he tells us that “…this isn’t a 12 step program. I should know, I was an addict for ten years and now I’m not.” While I must applaud this person’s alleged accomplishment of overcoming addiction (a very serious matter by the way), I just don’t understand how his statement says anything about the type of rehab therapy or programs that are offered, let alone how they work. Then again, I actually paid attention to what was being said, and I am still curious as to how a bikini-clad blond is part of the recovery process when overcoming addiction. Unless she was there to distract me from what was being said. We’ll never know.
Our next example is Quibids.com. I am all for healthy competition in the marketplace and it seems that there is no shortage of eBay competitors, but if Quibids is trying to steal my business from eBay, they are going to have to get better writers for their commercials.
They parade actor portrayals of actual users who have gotten some outlandishly amazing deals on some cool products. There is the required fine print at the bottom of the screen that says those types of results aren’t typical. I get that. Show off some really good results in order to draw more attention to your service, and with increased web-traffic, you might gain some new customers. Sounds pretty straight forward to me, although I doubt the creators of the commercial took Principles of Marketing with Professor Gibson, which may attribute to the questionable quality of their advertising campaign. My favorite part though is the older woman who tells us that she signed up with Quibids, and watched an item or several items before bidding, and she won the first thing she bid on, so “…I’m convinced it’s the real deal.” (Note: Unfortunately YouTube does not have the version I refer to, the link shows the edited version) It is my understanding, based on what she said, that had she not won the first item she bid on, that QuiBids would not be the real deal, that it would be some deceptive farce. I would assume that had she bid on something and didn’t win, that it would still, in fact, be the real deal. I mean, come on. How many times have any of us bid on something just to be outbid by another user?
I am willing to concede that neither of the above are examples of blatantly deceptive advertising, but at the very least they are fine examples of just plain laziness. I would hate to see what ideas were rejected.
Maybe I have just become a commercial snob after being exposed to many years of commercials shown during the Super Bowl—which by the way haven’t really been as exciting the last few years as they used to be. Can we fix this corporate America? But alas, maybe the ridiculous advertising style did part of the job because I actually wrote about it and in the end isn’t that almost like utilizing their services?
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