To end the year, here is a look at the bad things we need to fix. Next year will start with good things we need to keep doing more of. Happy New Year everyone!
1. Treating People Like Idiots
I can't believe we still have to talk about this in 2012. People are not idiots, we need to stop treating them as if they are. People can understand a point without the use of false setups and bad acting. Let's demonstrate this with an unbelievably bad ad from Colgate.
2. Using Songs in Place of Creativity
If you have a song that sums up your idea, wonderful. If you add a good song as the soundtrack to your idea, brilliant. Using the song as the sole idea in an ad that has no creative or strategic thought in it whatsoever... go away. See also number 10.
3. Using Ideas From the Internet in Place of Creativity
There are two ways to utilise ideas you find online. Firstly, you adapt or involve the original creator to produce something good. As with John West below.
Secondly, you just steal the idea or rip it off. This must end.
4. Unnecessary Copy
I'm thinking particularly of ads which think people are so stupid they have to be forewarned in advance of upcoming blunt metaphors. Colgate again.
"If you think about it, your tooth is a lot like..."
Why the hell do we need the first five words? You could argue that the rest are superfluous too, but the first bit is ridiculous. Remember the maxim that you should remove any words that aren't necessary to get the point across. Please.
5. Bad Faux-Customers and Respondents
Every time I see the Pounds to Pocket ad where the woman says "I'm so glad I went to Pounds to Pocket...", it makes me want to set fire to the TV. It isn't just them though, I've seen others with it too.
See also that horrific Colgate ad in point 1. They couldn't look any less real if they were made using poor CGI.
6. Gio Compario
I had hoped the change of agency would fix things, but instead of doing something with the character they just kept the annoying ad and bolted on an anti-character motif to it. The anti-character thing doesn't work if you subject us to the whole thing in the first place. The latest ad is a step in the right direction, but unless they take another few steps forward, this point stands.
7. Confused.com Songs
Make it stop. Make it stop. Make it stop. Not content with terrible songs, annoying cliched characters, and an apparent total lack of strategy... it even has a main character who appears to constantly pull large objects from her underwear.
8. Client Briefs Based on Existing Ads
"That John Lewis ad is good, give me one of those."
No, no, no, no, no.
9. UK Regional Bias
We live in the age of global instant communication. To see non-London agencies as inherently inferior simply because of their location is an out of date concept. If this bothers you, get over it. American agencies are in New York, Boulder, Portland. Australian agencies are in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide. UK agencies are in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, etc.
10. Replacing Song Lyrics
As demonstrated above by Confused.com. Stop taking well known songs and swapping over the lyrics to something inane or your brand name. It sounds awful, it makes the brand sound awful, and it does not suggest creativity or strategy. Please note this excludes cases where there is genuine strategy or creativity involved in parody or wordplay, rather than just swapping lyrics.