GILLETTE TRIES TO SELL BY
INSULTING ITS CUSTOMERS
Granted, I started in direct marketing, where the effectiveness of any promotion is evaluated by strict, bottom-line measures like number-of-sales and cost-per-order.
But these days it doesn’t seem like an ad is expected to actually sell anything. After having viewed that Prevagen spot a hundred-or-so times, I still don’t get the connection between some ingredient that comes from jellyfish and improving my memory.
Progressive Insurance is probably the worst. They’ve run their “Flo” character into the ground, and their spots just get more abstract and obscure.
Liberty Mutual isn’t far behind. The clever campaign that began with that cute little girl and her car, “Brad,” has been creeping over into silliness lately.
Creative directors need to remind their copywriters that humor in advertising only works when the laugh grows out of the problem that’s solved by buying the product. If you’re just going for the laugh, you may succeed in amusing your viewers, but you won’t sell much.
Then there’s the current trend of social commentary in product ads. Have you noticed all the spots that feature mixed-race families? In a time when marriage and adoption across racial lines is increasingly common, what burning problem does Corporate America think it’s being bold in confronting?
And then there’s Gillette.