Sunday, February 11, 2007
In the advertising industry, pre-Super Bowl hype centered on consumer-generated content. Now the hoopla has shifted to consumer-generated discontent.
At least two spots drew public outrage, mobilizing advertisers into damage-control mode.
A Snickers commercial and website — focused on a couple of men accidentally kissing — were denounced as anti-gay, and the candy maker ultimately pulled the messaging.
General Motors sought to communicate its commitment to quality, but instead managed to upset tons of folks and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. GM has pledged to revise the spot starring a depressed auto factory robot.
Add the ill-fated Cartoon Network guerilla marketing campaign for Aqua Teen Hunger Force that ignited a disaster in Boston, and you’ve got a trifecta of nationwide rejection.
And we’re barely into the second month of 2007.
The new media landscape fuels the furor, as citizens can more quickly and easily voice disdain and organize picket lines. No need to wait for Ralph Nader or Jesse Jackson to launch a revolution. Blogs and websites like YouTube turn the Average Joe into cyber versions of Siskel & Ebert.
Lots of adpeople whine that the PC police are out of control. But this is the stereotypical gripe whenever Madison Avenue has birthed an insensitive, clueless piece of shit.
The Super Bowl commercial still recognized as the all-time gold standard is Apple’s 1984. Can’t recall any complaints over that classic.
Maybe it’s time to stop attacking the offended and consider the offenders.
Let’s face it — the advertising industry has lost touch with today’s consumer. Indeed, the business has not even demonstrated an ability to navigate and prosper with new media.
One can’t help but wonder if Madison Avenue’s dearth of diversity is contributing to the problems.
The lineup of Super Bowl offerings certainly showed a sameness and lameness; that is, much of the work presented a White male perspective. Sprint’s Connectile Dysfunction, Chevy’s Car Wash Dudes and the endless beer spots reflected the tired trend. Sure, one might argue a football audience is primarily male. Then again, women are a growing NFL fan segment. Additionally, Blacks have always accounted for a big share of the eyeballs. And of course, the grand sporting event attracts a broad and international viewership.
So why does the advertising look like it was hatched by young to middle-aged Caucasian guys?
Um, because the majority of it was.
Ideas from a monotone and exclusive group tend to ignore the sensibilities and sensitivities of the new consumer landscape. It’s important to note that the word “ignore” is related to the word “ignorant” too.
The 2007 Super Bowl was historic and breakthrough, as two Black head coaches led the opposing teams. Diversity dominated on the field, in the stands and throughout the global spectators.
Can Madison Avenue elevate its game to match?