By Emanuele Spies from São Leopoldo, RS, Brasil (;funny!) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
What does this picture have to do with banking at Chase? Look at her laughing. Look at him, so handsome. They are so happy. What makes them so happy? Opening a 2-year flexible rate CD? What is it about me that when I look at one of these ads where the couple is genuinely laughing that I think they must be making fun of someone. Who laughs that hard and isn’t laughing at someone else’s expense I think. Kind of a sick thing to think I suppose. Maybe he farted. No no no, she farted and they are just laugh laugh laughing at the stink and the absurdity of this shared moment. Let’s try to think about something positive they could be laughing about? I got nothing. Maybe there’s a guy who just got struck below the belt with a hammer in front of them. Christ. A psychiatrist would do a number on me, man. With one of those Rorschach tests where you look at the blot of ink and say the first thing that comes to your mind. I always see Butterflies. Maybe I’m not all that crazy after all. The real reason they’re laughing is that someone is paying them. Paying them well I imagine. Paying them to indirectly peddle me something.
Maya Angelou said that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Point is I guess that’s why these ads have pictures like that. They are trying to get you to emote or at least associate happiness with their product. Whenever I log on to my TD Finance car payment site to pay my bill there is one of these couples laughing in a car. They never change the picture. The same picture and I always find it ludicrous. They’re not even selling me the car. I already bought the car, I am forking over my $290 monthly finance payment and I have these idiots laughing in my face. I guess this has more to do with website design than actual advertising when I think about it. I mean I know from doing this blog that people are more likely to read my drivel if I have a picture. I mean what does that say about us as discriminating consumers? But it is 100% true. I am so much more likely to read a blog post, visit a site, etc. if the look is right or makes me emote. The best advertisers in any form are the ones who get their voice heard. The same is true with book authors.
There is a trend with author’s successfully self-publishing books right now. What I’ve learned is that the most successful authors are not necessarily the writers of the best books. It has less to do with the actual content of their book and everything to do with their marketing. Getting it into the right hands, creating some publicity stunt in conjunction with the book that latches it onto a media story or a viral post or video. Does that mean the book sucks? No. What it does mean is that there are probably millions of other books out there that are just as good, if not better, that die on the publisher’s floor, or if self-published, on Amazon. They die not because they are inferior (necessarily) but because there were no advertising coattails to ride. What does that then say about our newspapers who rely solely on selling papers day after day? The consumers who are actually seeking out a good product might seek out the best written material, considering they would even know it if they found it, but as a news organization, you may soon realize that you sell more with less honorable tactics. As a New York Post, who puts half-naked women on your cover whenever you have the opportunity (hey it works on magazines and blogs and well pretty much anywhere else for that matter) or even just a titillating headline is effective (see above). As we all know, SEX sells but to the lowest common denominator of society? I guess to all of us in one way or another.
A couple of last things. That Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” ad and the GEICO Gecco. The “Where’s the Beef” ad apparently put Wendy’s on the map. That GEICO Gecco is just everywhere. Is the Gecco supposed to be making me laugh? Or is he cute? Or is it just that he’s ubiquitous? We buy what’s familiar. Yeah I’ve heard of GEICO before, I’ll go with them. It works. I’ve spent a lifetime listening to ads consciously or subconsciously and they sure as hell work. I was 36 years old when I first needed to call upon the services of an exterminator. Who did I call? 864-6900 for Suburban Exterminating. Suburban Exterminating. There’s a jingle associated with that that I have to sing to conjure that number but it’s in there, in the recesses of my mind. It was an ad that played on the radio station that my bus driver in High School, over 20 years ago, listened to every morning. Goddamn right that advertising works.
In summation, I realize I am out of my league even questioning the process of advertisers, the smartest people on Earth, I imagine. Those sexy little bitches. Mmmmmmm.