Wednesday, April 04, 2007


Thinking back to Russell Davies comments at the FMS about how "The business model for shit is going away." I was wondering, why is it that bad ads still get made?

Do they work? Or is there just a total ignorance of a: how bad they are b: whether they work c: whether something better could work more?

I mean, if the Coke Zero ads worked, why on earth wouldnt other rubbish ads... but why?! Are people fond of being patronised and talked down to? Do they enjoy being treated as if they have the intellectual capacity of a mouldy peanut, or are people far stupider (arf) than we give them credit for?

Why do Loreal and Gillette still do the same terrible ads they have been doing for 30 years? Surely if they didnt work they would have been stopped?

We need better, but will better work?


Rob @ Cynic said...

Nice rant Mr M ... my view is that Coke Zero worked because of their distribution and people's facination with 'trying something new' and had nothing to do with the ads at all - which sort of proves that whilst ads have a valuable role to play in business, their level of importance [especially when executed with bland commercials featuring no real consumer motivating insight] is no where near what most ad people like to kid themselves in thinking.

lauren said...

is a terrible-looking ad still a bad ad if it continues to elicit good sales and brand recognition? i say yes, but i'm a pain in the arse!

BTW - MTV rant is up.

Rob said...

Absolutely. Coke Zero had great packaging, and was a new product in a market where people are willing to try new things. I hope the ads were nothing to do with it.

Bad ads can work, but that ignores the fact that a good ad could work so much better (and more cost effectively).

Mtv rant...hurrah!

Rob said...

I'm with the other Rob.

Bad ads do work, because even a shit ad gets a message across - even if it's no better than "Hello. Here is a product we made".

Unfortunately, we have to accept that awareness of the existence of some products is 90% of the job. Whether people actually feel good about it or not is largely irrelevant.

Just don't tell my clients...

lauren said...

3 robs all on the one blog post! this could get really confusing..

Rob (Famous) said...

So we can put the blame on the 90's trend of "increasing brand awareness" ..?

Hi other Rob, thanks for posting!

It could Lauren... maybe we could form a group called the 3 Bob Notes :D

lauren said...

or 'puttin my 3 bob's worth in..'

sam said...

One problem is that some companies buy advertising out of fear. They don’t want to lose market share or drop a few points in a top-of-mind awareness survey. The real problem, I believe, is that these companies are not spending the time or money to isolate and measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. If they did then they would know what worked and what didn’t. But here’s a big what if. What if the ads you hate turn out to be effective and engage the target audience?

Ad Pit Rob said...

I think thats probably right.

As for the latter point, I think thats the real point behind this post; are what we consider good ads actually the most effective, and if not...why not?

Do we have to accept that sometimes we might need to make 'bad' ads to reach people?

After all, more people buy the Sun than any other paper in the UK, why wouldnt they also respond to terrible ads?

Rob @ Cynic said...

What a bad ad is to advertising folk, ain't gonna be a bad ad to normal folk. [Mainly because they either don't care or just like a little chuckle - and 'jokes with a brand logo attached' are the things that make me most angry of them all!]

a from l said...

Ads work for a combination of several reasons. Being in the right place (so it gets seen) and having enough repetitions counts for more than creative content. I wish it were otherwise but unfortunately creative impact is usually the part of the equation that gets skimped on.

Also, do not underestimate the resistence to anything "arty" from within a client's marketing department (many of them run by people from a sales background).