May 03, 2010

The Demise Of Advertising

One of these day I'm going to write a book about the demise of advertising.  It will start like this:
Once upon a time, advertising people decided that they no longer wanted to sell things. Instead, they decided it would be more fun to be amateur psychoanalysts.
And so, instead of making ads about the attributes of the products they were selling, they started making ads about the imagined psychological profiles of their customers.
I was reading an article from USA Today recently about a new ad campaign for a large company whose name I'm not going to tell you yet.

The reason I'm not going to tell you is that I want you to look at the target definition and tell me if you can figure out what these people are selling. Or even what category they are competing in. Presumably a target definition is something specific and relevant to the product you're peddling. Otherwise, why do it? 
...we focus on a target audience based on a psychographic profile. Our target ... is the everyday hero and they share five core values: family first, work-life balance, self knowledge and fulfillment, spirit of independence and fun and enjoyment. The other thing we know about (them) is they take great pride in staying true to themselves..
I've seen this exact same baloney on about a thousand creative briefs. What it really means is, our target audience is just like our account planners!

So here's what I want to know. Who are they not targeting? Who doesn't...
a. put family first
b. want work-life balance
c. seek self-knowledge and fulfillment
d. have a spirit of independence
e. seek fun and enjoyment.
f. take great pride in staying true to themselves
If you're a creative and you want to do good work, the only way to deal with nonsense like this is to burn it. Then try to find something interesting to say about the product.

Next, what do you think these people are selling? Cars? Lipstick? Golf clubs? Running shoes? Clothing? Beer? Vitamin water? Organic foods? Life insurance? Underwear?

The company is Holiday Inn.

Here's some free advice. I've been to a Holiday Inn recently.  I didn't see too many people wandering around looking for "self-knowledge and fulfillment."

Mostly they were looking for clean towels and a bucket of ice.

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