Today is more or less the end of the 2007 Advertising season. Is there an Advertising season? Probably not, but many new ad campaigns will start today, so I'll take now to look back over my own personal "best and worst" ad campaigns in the last few months.
Many years ago, my good friend (Sancho, who really needs to get his own blog going) and I thought of a great idea for a business. We wanted to be ad consultants. Not ad producers, mind you. Mainly we thought that companies could pay us a bunch of money to show us the ideas that the real ad guys produced and we would tell them if what the average person would think of it. Or at least the average person with a brain.
I think this all started around when Carl's Jr. (Hardee's, if you live east of Colorado) were doing their "Without us, some guys would starve" ads. I never liked Carl's much before that, but I stopped going there during that ad campaign altogether, because I didn't feel like being insulted. I know they were trying to go for the "tough guy" image, but they were basically insulting their customers, saying "If you're too dumb to make toast, please visit us." Some people liked those ads, but I don't think any of those people could cook, and I think that's got to be a small portion of the population. Or our idea could have started during a loooooong list of really bad AM/PM ads. Regardless, our brilliant idea was to get paid lots of money to tell people their ads suck. I can't see why this didn't work. I should be a millionaire right now.
So I've always kind of been an advertising connoisseur, if there is such a thing, and a couple of ads have stuck out over the last few months. The first was Toyota's Toyotathon ads. The premise was that the deals were so good on new cars that people were going to amazing lengths to get out of their old leases. And it showed a bunch of people chopping down trees to fall on their car, rolling a rock off a cliff onto their cars, or pushing it off the top of a parking structure. I get where they were going - cars getting smashed is usually great entertainment. However, all they were really doing was showing a bunch of their customers committing insurance fraud. I mean, last time I checked, insurance companies tend to frown upon people intentionally wrecking their car because they're tired of it and want the money for a new one. I'm waiting for this ad campaign to be used by a defense attorney as proof that his client didn't know it was illegal.
On the other end of the spectrum is the ad campaign that has steadily grown on me. At first I thought it was silly, but the more I see it, I think it might be brilliant. I am speaking of the "Messin' with Sasquatch" ads from Jack Link's beef jerky. To quote Adam Sandler in an old SNL skit, "Who are the ad wizards who came up with that one?" I think they wanted to call it "Fuckin' with Bigfoot," but ran into problems. If you haven't seen the ads, it's about some loser 20-somethings that find Bigfoot and decide to screw with him, with such all time classics as flaming poop in the bag, the buzzer handshake, and, my favorite, the_rolling_car_prank.
Oh, and Bigfoot always beats the crap out of one of them at the end.
Seriously, how high were the ad guys who wrote this? It was nothing to do with beef jerky, and that's what's great about it. I think there's got to be some ad people that come up with ideas like that and wait for somebody that has no idea what they want to come along. I mean, if these ads were for a cereal, they'd work just as well. Or a motor oil. Maybe not a feminine product, but just about anything else, right? And that's what makes it brilliant. I don't know if I've ever seen beef jerky ads before, but I'm guessing they wouldn't be very eventful because, really, what can you say about beef jerky? So you've got to go off the board and screw around with a mythical creature. Awesome. As I said, the first few times I saw this, I thought, what's the point? But now if it comes on, I will stop what I'm doing cause, dang it, I know I'll be laughing in about 28 seconds.
So there's the Annual Wombat awards for best and worst ad campaigns of late '07.