Per the guidance of my previous post, I watched the Super Bowl last night, but only because I genuinely enjoy football. Sadly, we did not receive the good game we’d all hoped for. Unless you live in Seattle, or became a fair-weather Seahawks fan in the last five weeks, you likely did not enjoy the game. Do you know what else you did not relish? A series of terrible, over-thought, pathetic commercials.
If you disagree and desire to make the case that the world’s advertising and marketing geniuses (hereafter Assholes) did a great job, then you either:
a) Can be sold a bill of goods by a degenerate leprechaun
b) Were not sitting in a room of twenty diverse people, like me, who also agreed that the commercials did not deliver
The highlight of the night’s failures were the fools at Maserati. What better way to get people to buy your car and improve your image than by broadcasting to an audience of which 99.99% cannot purchase your item. I don’t think Maserati understands how deeply they have damaged their brand. In my room, several people speculated that Maserati’s goal was in fact to produce a big “fuck you” to average citizens who could not obtain their car, and thus increase the chances that somebody who could afford their car would buy it to get in on the “fuck you peasant” cause. This one feedback loop about sums up the evening.
It occurred to me just before halftime (when it was clear only one team was playing football) that the commercials were trending along a few major themes:
1) Blatant and shameless American patriotism
“If you buy this item, you love freedom and democracy. If you buy from our competitors, you’re Hitler.”
2) It’s happy time
“If you buy our item, you’ll be as happy as these people you see on your screen. If you don’t buy from us, you’ll end up offing yourself in the bathroom with a shampoo bottle shard, alone, and very afraid.”
3) Wacky, so very wacky
“Our item is so off the wall that only the most sane, rational, and smart person (you) would agree to buy such a thing. You’re hip, and if you buy this stuff, you’ll be at the cutting edge. Nobody truly gets us (and the new ‘thing’) better than you.”
4) The epic production
“See how our commercial is like a movie trailer? When you buy our item, it’ll be like you’re in a movie. Let our dramatic music and pristine cinematography (and the item you’ll buy) distract you from your otherwise pathetic horror movie life.”
And then I read this over coffee:
Oh my, where do I start?
I guess to me it’s simple. And truly, this line is equally applicable to politicians:
– When you treat the average human like they’re idiots, don’t be surprised when they hate you, and generally don’t do as you ask.
A normal adult desires to be treated as such. When you fall short of that goal, you’re going to get resistance. People desire the respect of others, particularly from folks who want their votes or money.
Here’s an idea? Just be honest. Don’t lay it out as a scheme, a gimmick, or anything fancy. Put a freaking guy in front of a white wall and have him explain why your product is awesome. At the very least get some class back into the game.
As an example, the Economist article refers to Dominos’ recent advertising campaigns. How interesting, Dominos came up in my room last night. Why? The comment(s) were that they liked Dominos poking fun at their past failures, promising to fix it for the customer, and then (here’s the kicker) actually delivering on their guarantee of improved quality. Wow! This is Asshole rocket science. It’s almost like the Assholes at Dominos can see through time and disobey the laws of the universe!
Asking for the truth can be a dangerous thing. What politician is going to actually tell you they don’t understand the law they just voted for, they only did it because they had to pay back a lobbyist? No Asshole is actually going to say they’d like you to buy their above average tested product with a small or large markup because they need to increase their share value. And in the end, even if you liked the honesty you got, you’d still be out one vote or some cash. But somewhere there is a balance.
As to yesterday, speaking of peering through time, I have a vision, of last night’s Assholes staring in revulsion at the shit they allowed to hit the air. Then the medieval CEO claps, whispers, and grown men are dragged away to the woods for failing their feudal master.
Isn’t our car awesome! Too bad you’ll never buy it, pig!