George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

Does your cell phone Jitterbug?

From Watch Your Ads — A media memo by George Duncan

I’m among those last of the Luddites who doesn’t have a cell phone. But every so often I’m tempted by a cell phone ad to give in and get one. The Jitterbug is one of those phones I might consider. It’s a bit kludgy, but phone calling is all it does. Almost. The latest version does have some “brain games” pre-loaded. It’s designed for people my (ahem) age to be so simple we won’t have to ask our grandchildren how to use it. But really, “Jitterbug?” Is that a good name for a phone designed for older folks who are tech shy? I’ll bet if the creative team came back after drinks, they’d have come up with something more appropriate for an older market.

Special for the ladies

Next time your drain feels all stuffed up ladies, call for Liquid Plumr. According to the ad, two young hotties will show up to flush your pipe and snake your drain. They have an extra looong snake, too, that reaches deep inside your pipe. How was it for you?

GE’s “brilliant” machines

As the GE ad showed off the company’s latest machine marvels with the tag line that they’re “transforming the way we work,” I thought to myself, that’s one way to put it. Today’s technologies are transforming work, all right, transforming good paying jobs into food stamps for working families. Frequently on the finance channels like CNBC you can see the masters of the universe crowing about ever higher profits from ever greater productivity. By which they mean squeezing every last ounce of flesh from an ever smaller work force. Putting full time workers on part time so they don’t have to offer healthcare and other costly benefits. Record breaking pay and bonuses for the executive suite as the gap between rich and poor becomes an unbridgeable chasm. Yeah. Brilliant.

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The guys at agencies crafting car ads must be smoking some weird stuff these days. Like the Kia Forte ad where a robot chick beats up a poor schlemiel, ending with a kick that puts him against the wall. Why? Dunno. But I’d stay the hell away from the Kia Forte showroom.

Then there’s the attractive young woman caught in a driving rainstorm. She has no umbrella, so she runs up to a total stranger and shares his umbrella for a dozen yards or so, then runs to another perfect stranger and another until she arrives at her car. Oh BTW, it’s a Cadillac. Huh?

Infinity has three cars pulling yarn from bystanders’ clothing as the cars roll down the street. “Liberate yourself from winter” is the promise. A total head job with almost no emotional appeal. The visual is interesting, but how does it relate to the car? Spring sale? Big whoop.

On the brighter side is the :30 from Siemens showing two parents bringing their young daughter to the hospital for an MRI. A great bit of theater start to finish.


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