George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

Adequate Birthday, honey!

From Watch Your Ads – A media memo by George Duncan

Adequate Birthday, honey!

I love the new KIA Optima ad that shows a guy buying the latest model as a birthday present for his daughter. As he’s driving the car home, he clearly begins to enjoy the ride and its many features. So much so, that by the time he gets home and his daughter runs out to the car, she is greeted, not by the key to the car, but by a cute little puppy dad picked up on the way, as he and mom take off in their new KIA.

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Lock up the kids – here comes another plague!

Yikes! Just when we were celebrating our survival from The Great Shingles plague, here comes another national scourge, the Attack of the Giant Toenail Fungus! But fear not. As was the case with the shingles rampage, science again saves the day with a handy vaccine you can buy at your friendly neighborhood pharmacy.

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Bogies on the left—bogies on the right – and watch your six!

No question, flying combat in today’s stock market can get dicey. But you’ll be safe in the “cockpit” provided by Trade Station, a company that provides data and services to day traders. Here at Trade Station you’re your own Top Gun. Charts, charts, charts slicing, dicing and crunching all the data you need to knock fear, doubt and greed out of the sky as you blast your way to informed trades – even if it is all yesterday’s news which, we are frequently reminded, is “no guarantee of future performance.” You may not know any better than anyone else what’s going up and what’s going down and how much, but you’ll feel a hell of a lot better about it as you attack each day’s market in your Trade Station cockpit.

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Aw, c’mon guys, have a party for everyone

VW ads are showcasing a new app called App-Connect, which if you don’t have to send the car in on recall, lets several folks talk to each other, I think, through your car phone system with a Siri-like capacity. Whatever it is, the example they use has three almost 30-somethings sounding like 10-year-olds planning a party. Am I invited? Yeah. But I’m not planning a party. (Another guy checks in): Hey did you hear about the first guy’s party? I knew it! I’ll show him – phone system, find the nearest party shop. I’ll have my own party! And the system responds verbally with directions to a party shop.

I often wonder, with ads like this, whether the advertiser ever thinks about the people they present in their scenarios as representative of their prospective buyers. One would think they would want their ads to be in sync with their market. What could be the attraction to VW with these guys? Maybe they wouldn’t care about emissions. I don’t get it.

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Can I get a puppy?.. Can I, can I?

An example of a great ad that obscures the product – at least for me – is the guy with his 14-year old Great Buddy Dog. He buys him a custom birthday cake and a brand new shoe to chew. He strews tennis balls all over the yard, takes the dog swimming and as a final flourish, takes him to park where he introduces him – the rogue – to a comely lady dog and let the sniffing begin! Honestly, it makes me want to get a dog – but I still don’t know what the ad is not selling.

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Just sayin’…

In his address to Congress, Pope Francis touched on several important policy principles. But his most significant statement, in my view, was his description of politics as, “an expression of our compelling need to live as one, in order to build as one the greatest common good: that of a community which sacrifices particular interests in order to share, in justice and peace, its goods, its interests, its social life.” It’s significant because, I believe, it defines the liberal approach to governance from which flow all the policy initiatives that form the social contract, meet people’s needs and fulfill the constitutional mandate to “promote the general welfare.” (Not surprisingly, Bernie Sanders included it in an email the following day.) The Pope’s emphasis on “our compelling need to live as one” and his stress on “community” directly negates the shopworn Republican meme of “personal responsibility” which, they insist, guarantees “freedom”. Right. Freedom to sink or swim on your own. Don’t ask us for help. In an assessment of the Pope’s visit, the New York Times notes that Pope Francis seemed to be “slipping the conservatives’ grasp with broad and generous calls for tolerance and contemplation.” Can you spell tolerance, Mr. Trump?

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Keep clickin’

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