George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

So, ok, how does it work?

From Watch Your Ads – A media memo by George Duncan

An ad for Esurance riffs on GEICO’s apparently successful “15 minutes” ads with—wait for it—a 7 ½ minutes ad! Half the time, see? So this woman is saying how she saved 15% on her insurance in 15 minutes. The other woman asserts that she saved more than that in 7 ½ minutes. The first woman retaliates with “I unfriend you,” to which the other woman replies “that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.” Huh? Any of what? Nothing like an ad that goes nowhere. And with all that back and forth, both verbally and graphically, it seems to me the message is lost. I’d love to see the recall numbers on that one. Probably come up stronger for Facebook.

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That’s the ‘merican way!

A new Caddy ad features a guy who keeps his eye on the ball, his shoulder to the wheel and his nose to the grindstone. He’s a “crazy, driven, hardworking believer” who makes his own luck, he says. That’s why he can afford a Caddy, and you can’t, you lazy loser! He boasts that he only takes 2 weeks’ vacation while you’re lolling on a Caribbean beach. That’s why you’re driving an ’82 Nash. I kept waiting for an American flag to spring out of his butt.

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Once will do, thanks.

Centrum Silver’s ad tells us the vitamin cocktail will give us the energy to run up the Empire State Building 1000 times! Go ahead. I’ll wait here.

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Let those silly cats meow for their meals.

So Kibbles and Bits needs an ad. Let’s see…oo…oo! I know! A talking dog! Don Draper, report to creative! And to add insult, the damn dog actually laughs; heh-heh-heh, and gives the daughter a golfing tip: “eye on the ball, eye on the ball, that’s all it takes.” Someone should tell that to Tiger.

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Billions and billions!

One of the more disgusting ads out now, during tax season, is H&R Block’s “re-united” ad, showing a nerdy accountant type burying himself in money. He ripples a large stack of cash, throws money all over the place. The promise seems to be that there’s billions of dollars waiting to be “reunited” to any taxpayer that brings their stuff in for their special treatment. Yuck!

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Razor a month club?

Sounds nuts to me, but my vote for the second worst ad out now has got to be the Dollar Shave Club. For $20 per month, they’ll send you a new razor. Never mind the blades, you get the razor. Plus a lot of other junk. But it’s the pitchman that makes it. He does some kind of dance at the end that I’m sure he thinks is cool, but looks more like Howdy Doody bouncing on a puppet string.

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$40 – make that $60!

Another example of The ‘merican Way in action is the young lady in the Chevy Tahoe ad who’s been babysitting. As she’s driven home from the gig, the wife assumes she’ll pay the usual $40. But the kid looks around at the sumptuous looking Tahoe, at all the tech especially, and entrepreneurially boosts the fee to $60. That’s the way to gouge, kid! Look out Wall Street, here she comes.

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Thank God, baseball is back!

From the Daily Beast (3/31) comes this appeal to sanity: “Mike Barnicle wants you take out your glove. On opening day, let’s pay homage to the game that shouts ‘slow down’ to America. Stop tweeting, texting, blogging, watching cable news, and obsessing about polls, lost planes, and focus group-driven politicians. Listen to the game, put the winter coat back in the closet, go outside, enjoy the sunshine, and enjoy life.” Amen!


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