George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

Yuck of the Month

From Watch Your Ads – A media memo by George Duncan

Yuck of the Month

Kayak, the travel site’s ad, has an “adjunct professor” giving a lecture. He has shaved the back of his head and painted on an alternate face, complete with glasses, reversed shirt, etc. He even pretends to drink a cup of coffee by lifting it behind his head — all of which makes me want to throw up. He’s planning a trip, see, and he needs class time to surf Kayak while he gives his lecture. Aside from being just plain disgusting, I wonder how many viewers get past the garbage to focus on the advertiser.  Also, it seems to me to be a cheap shot at adjuncts, who really don’t need or deserve the implied diss.

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GE: Onward to the Past

So GE Capital doesn’t just lend companies money. Their “experts” go in and help companies like Composites Horizons do their stuff better. This is a company that makes hi tech components “for aircraft and fighter jets” which are, BTW, the same thing. And what do their “top lean process engineers” come up with? They show a tool kit right out of Sears and ask why the tools are over there instead of over here. Reduced five steps to two. Wow! Reminds me of the efficiency experts of the 50’s with their stop watches and clip boards. Lean process, huh?

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Pardon my Butt

Don’t you love the Bark Box ad? Yes, Bark Box. It’s a “Doggie Deli” full of goodies for your dog. So to promote it, they give us a full minute of a dog’s patootie full screen, because, after all, that’s what dogs love most. Would have loved to be in the creative meeting when they proposed this one.

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Bouncing Through Life Together

I do love the AT&T ad with a young couple buying a family plan. He has the sleeping baby strapped to his chest and he’s bounding gently up and down. As they whisper to the salesperson, the wife is bouncing in unison with the husband. Cute.

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Everyone into the Pool

I also get a kick each time I see the Farmers Insurance ad where a dog crashes through a fence with a guy being dragged along the ground by the leash. The Farmers guy whistles, the dog stops on a dime and the guy goes flying into the pool. Slapstickish, but hilarious.

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And the Oscar Goes To…

The lady in the Life Alert ad who should get at least a nomination for playing the famously ridiculed “Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” scene. Except this time, we see her lying at the foot of the cellar stairs, crying and moaning pitifully until I can hit the mute button.

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Who Asked You?

Then there’s Charles Schwab who pontificates on “standing behind your word” which, of course, they always do at Chas. Schwab, Inc. Not sure I need a sanctimonious lecture on honesty from a day trader.

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I’ll be away next month, but I’ll find a way to pontificate about something in this space.


Have a great summer, and keep clickin’


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