23 March, 2011

Intern Sweatshop: The Rise and Fail of Advertising

Have you seen the Volkswagen commercial with the Darth Vader kid? What about the Doritos commercials with the pug bursting down the door? Companies are constantly pumping out new commercials aiming to boost the popularity of their brand/product but are they truly working? Are you becoming more annoyed instead of more interested with seeing the same commercials over and over? Do you think you’ll remember the Beiber vs. Ozzy Best Buy commercial six months down the road? The main question we have to ask ourselves is: Do commercials these days have any depth?

Within the context of advertising, depth applies to ads that make the viewer think past what the ad is straight-forwardly about and look deeper as to what's going on.

Brands seem to be adhering to the "next big thing” concept with their ads; so much so as I want to label these kind of spots as “pop commercials.” These are the commercials that have been pumped out with the main purpose being to generate a shock value or to be the Diddy of advertising. Companies want their spots to be the talk of the town for a day, a week, or a month…Cough Rebecca Black Cough. But sometimes that doesn’t happen because they lack depth. Commercials that have some depth to them will be the ones you will always remember, the ones you save on your YouTube account or the ones you and all your friends talk about.

A great example of a running pop commercial campaign would be the E*Trade baby. The first couple commercials we thought were great and everyone enjoyed watching them. They were commercials about stocks, but we all watched them for the shock value of that talking baby. The ones that I could watch over and over are the one where one baby sings “Broken Wings” while the other baby talks or the two that where about using the iPad and a Smartphone while he is in “solitary confinement.”

After a while, you gotta stop and ask yourself: how many times will this be funny?

I will watch new E*Trade baby commercials just to see what they do next, but if it isn’t the ones I love, I usually end up changing the channel because I’ve already seen it and It was only funny the first 2 times (if that).

Let’s talk about a commercial with some depth now. Old Spice commercials are by far my favorite spots to watch. They are the type of commercials that make you ask yourself, “What the hell did I just watch?” I have seen all of them and I think they are all genius. Old spice commercials make no sense and yet they still deliver the message of their brand and what they're promoting. Every time Old Spice puts out a commercial I feel like I am taking an adventure to Narnia. They are usually funny, so of course I want to share them with my friends or save them on my YouTube account so I will have quick access to them. These commercials are all over the place, making you want to watch them again and again because you weren’t exactly sure what you just watched the first time around; that shows you that the commercial did its job, it grabbed your attention and got you thinking about it well after it’s over.

A campaign that lives in the realm of between pop and depth are Corona ads. Corona commercials are simple and don’t have a lot going on. It’s usually two people on a beach looking at the ocean and then something comical happens; for instance A guy looks at a bunch of hot girl in bikinis playing in the water and then he ends up squirting his lime in his own face because he knows his wife was planning on doing it to him for looking. The most recent one involves two girls sitting on the beach and a bunch of footballs are thrown in front of them. This isn’t hilarious but I chuckled a little because it was still comical and a new twist on the formula. They haven’t changed the formula too much which means that it has been somewhat successful for them. Either way, I know that I will watch a new one at least once.

With companies trying to gain the attention of the people, they seem to be firing out advertisements that are for shock value the majority of the time. They want to be the “Rebecca Black” of the advertising world. Right now, she is everywhere but in a month or two (I’m hoping) everyone will have forgotten about her and her horrible, horrible song.

However, given brands track records, they’ll probably replace her with someone new and even more annoying thus furthering the never ending cycle of pop ads that fit so nicely into this disposable economy.

Last time on the Intern Sweatshop, Fired-Up Over Social Media.

Josh Pelc, Account Executive Intern/A Man Alone With His Thoughts….And A Smartphone #WINNING

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