Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Until Your Head Explodes

Every morning my wife and I like to have the TV on in the background as we get caught up on e-mail, read the paper, drink coffee and otherwise wake up. The TV is usually on A&E for re-runs of Third Watch and then on Bravo for re-runs of West Wing (even though we have the DVDs of the first 3 seasons).

But one of the things we wonder about is whether marketers intentionally try to drive people crazy with their ads or not. There are some ads which by their noisome repetition tend to inspire an eventual reaction much like one of Charlie Brown’s “AAUUUUUUUGH’s”.

We cringe when the strains of “Bum, bum, Bumblebee; bum bum Bumblebee; bum bum Bumblebee; Bumblebee Tuna” come over the TV featuring a lip synching actor in a really bad John Denver wig cavorting in kitchens and through the surf.

And then there’s “Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar.” This is a commercial about a cookie which promises to help you lose up to 100 pounds just by eating these filling, low calorie cookies.

Then there’s NuvaRing. “Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, every day” goes this ditty for a birth control product featuring synchronized swimmers in swimsuits with the days of the week on them.

And, I would be totally remiss not to mention the 4 offerings, each with a slightly different melody, extolling the virtues of “Free Credit Report dot Com”. This goofy cast of characters (again lip synching—when did Millie Vanilli start doing commercials?) performs in a fish restaurant, at a Renaissance festival, in a beat up Honda hatchback and in the basement of the in-laws’ house.

AAUUUUUUUUUUUGH!! After the first few repetitions these commercials grate on the nerves. They insinuate themselves into your consciousness. They create a medley of insanity that will not leave your conscious or unconscious mind.

Is this good advertising or bad? They certainly impress themselves upon you. But do they inspire me to buy the product?

Let’s see. I don’t need NuvaRing (obviously). I don’t believe that eating cookies will help me lose weight (although maybe if I munched down enough ginger snaps or vanilla wafers). Free Credit Report really isn’t free.

Well, I’m left with tuna. That would be about the only product of these that I would buy. Maybe if it were 50% off at the grocery store I’d buy some but there’s never a special on it so I stick with store brand.

Someone is spending a lot of money. Obviously people are buying the products but is it because of the ads? Well, it seems as though I certainly remember the products. They have a branded image in my mind. But is it a good one? Whatever happened to “my bologna has a first name, it’s Oscar…”? Or “little girls have pretty curls, but I like Oreos”. Or even “let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat today.”

That’s OK I guess because this is new age advertising. Apparently it doesn’t matter whether it’s a good impression or a bad impression as long as it’s an impression. Until the next major campaign comes along we’ll just sing along with Bum Bum BumbleBee on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday…every day. AAUUUUUUGH!!

No comments:

Post a Comment