George Duncan

Marketing copywriter/consultant, author

Archive for the category “Cadillac”

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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Hey, USAA, what the hell?…

From Watch Your Ads – A media memo by George Duncan

I mentioned this ad before, but I still don’t get it. And I’ve had USAA insurance for 50 years! USAA “Once earned,” the ad says, USAA automobile policies are “passed down” to family members. Huh? Do I need to put my USAA policy in my will? Will it be the same policy? Different driver, different car, different year, but same policy? Then a woman says she “earned” her policy in Korea in 1953.  Another earned hers in Afghanistan in 2003. And a kid says she got hers – never mind she’s too young to drive – while in orbit in 1971. Does that mean their significant others died? And what does “earned” mean? Something other than purchasing? And this from an organization run by retired generals? Front and center, guys!

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Ok, but does Stacy’s dad know?

The new ad for Cadillac shows a comely woman approaching and entering her Cadillac while the soundtrack has a tune going, “Stacy’s mom has it going on.” Really?  What’s “it,” exactly? Could she be the daughter in the Subaru ad that “grew up” in the back seat of her mother’s car?

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Save your life! Win the Lottery! Realize your wildest dreams!

All it takes is a Brother (or brother) P-touch Labeler! I know, I know. It’s hard to believe, but it’s right there in their ad.  Your career, your business, your home and love life will all go swimmingly just by putting printed labels on everything with a Brother P-touch Labeler. On a drawer, print DRAWER. On a file, print FILE. Oh, the places you can go!

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Be afraid! Be very afraid! And open this envelope NOW!

As a recovering direct mail writer for more than forty years, I’m learning that where you stand depends on where you sit. When I was in Cube City, I wrote and designed many wild and crazy envelopes. With teasers or without, the trick was to get the recipient to open the envelope. It was a great game. But now I’m the recipient and I have to chuckle at some of the lame envelope strategies I get in the mail. One recent example was an oversized package, 11 ½”x 5”, loaded with Very Important Information. Vertical at the left edge is “DocEx” complete with a document number and day/date, filled in with typewriter courier. Also, “Document Express * Important Delivery Letter.” And that’s just for openers (so to speak).

At the top of the envelope is “This package contains important information that requires an immediate response.”  That’s followed by a large “2014, followed by a bar code, followed by “Dated material enclosed. Contents of this package are for the recipient only.” (Well that settles that!) At the bottom of the envelope is “Do not fold,” (wouldn’t dream of it!) “Secured Carrier. Verified Delivery.” (Whew!) In the window below the address block, the top of the letter is strategically positioned. “Benjamin D. Suarez,” it says. “Corporate President and Chief Executive Officer. “ Wow! Right from the Grand Poobah himself! Wait, there’s more.

On the back of the envelope is the return address for BioTech Research and “Dispatcher No. 31.” Below that in 16 point type, “Check the Enclosed Documents Immediately.” Holy postal service! OK! So, with trembling fingers, I open the envelope to reveal… THE SMELLKILLER ODOR REMOVER!   I won’t burden you further with a description of the product.  Give me a good ole’ Nigerian Prince email any day.

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Fore! Grab that opportunity!

On the other hand, CME Group has a nifty ad showing a woman professional golfer (didn’t get her name), driving balls from a Manhattan rooftop. They represent investment opportunities and they land in various places around town identifiable as being one or another of several economic strata. One lands at the feet of Richard Branson as he’s boarding a plane. He picks it up, examines it, and with a smile, tucks it in his pocket. Cool.

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