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Where’s the Beef?

Oy, Motrin-gate.

If you haven’t heard about it, here’s the quick-and-dirty version: Motrin created an ad linking babywearing to back pain as a marketing tactic. Many moms were not amused.

Personal disclaimer: I thought the ad was off the mark. Inconsistent message, inaccurate message, and inadvertently condescending delivery. To Motrin’s credit, they have pulled the ad.

But it got me thinking about how I’ve always been critical of advertising. I take notice of what speaks to me, and what annoys the living crap out of me.

I love ads with great music. Car commercials often have fantastic soundtracks, and I’ve used Google more than once to find out the name and artist of the song playing in the background. Mitsubishi, for one, has had some rockin’ ads.

I also love ads that make me laugh. Those “Real Men of Genius” ads practically make me wet my pants. I only drink Budweiser at the ballpark, but I crack up at those ads every time – turn up the radio and shush the kids so I can hear every word.

I hate ads that play on stereotypes, which is one reason why I didn’t like the Motrin ad. Another one that really tweaked me was a Toyota Solara commercial that featured an adult couple, with a little boy voice-over: “Can I get it, Mom? Puh-leeeeeeeeze, can I can I can I?” I thought the car was really cute, but I would never buy one purely on principle.

I also hate ads with stupid jingles. I realize that’s quite a subjective criterium; jingles seem to be either totally catchy or absolutely grating. When I was a kid, there was a commercial for some pudding that I hated. I hated it so much I still remember it. I also remember telling my father how much I hated it, and he replied, “But you remember it, don’t you? You may hate it, but it was effective.”

Meanwhile, I love the freecreditreport dot com ads. I kept myself awake driving across northern Nevada last July by singing the songs from those ads, over and over again. Hey, it beat listening to Spongebob on the borrowed DVD player.

Finally, I can’t stand ads that portray circumstances that are so far removed from reality that it destroys the credibility of the product, for me anyway. Seriously, how many of us have ever walked through a garden with our mother and confided, “Do you ever get that not-so-fresh feeling?”

So tell me – what works for you? Which elements of advertising intrigue you, and which ones make you tune right out?


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  1. Since the world of DVRs, I rarely sit through commercials anymore so I can’t even pick out any of my most recent favorites.

    I will say, however, the Motrin ad stink annoyed the crap out of me. Sure, they made a mistake, sure they pulled the ad. But the amount of time and fuss the blogosphere spent over an inconsequential ad that merely erred on messaging could have beeen spent on a cause that REALLY matters.

  2. I absolutely hate the VW Routan commercials where Brooke Shields goes on and on about people having babies just to get that minivan. Ugh! they have to be some of the worst commercials on TV.

  3. Amber and Katherine took the words out of my fingers.

    Ditto what Amber said about the out-of-proportion response in the blogosphere.

    And the Brooke Shields ad IS memorable. It reminds me not to buy a VW.

  4. I love my DVR but will stop flying through commercials to watch the ones by Liberty Mutual.. you know.. the people all helping each other. I think that one is so cool.. LOVE the Mac Guy and pretty much all IPhone commercials.

    What REALLY PEEVES me to no end are cool 80’s songs that are now cheesy.. A good example: the Toyota commercial, … “Saved By Zero…” by The Fixx.. arggh!! Sell outs!!


  5. As I twittered, the Motrin ad was so terrible is almost came back around to being awesome. But worth ALL that stink? Not so much.

  6. The motrin thing strikes me as an overreaction. But part of the beauty of blogging and twittering is that you can vent in the moment and sometimes get a quick reaction, such as the the ad being pulled.
    The VW ad also really bugs me, but it would bug me more if the pregnant women in the background weren’t saying “Uh, no. I planned this pregnancy.”
    I absolutely hate the burger joint ads where the people are getting their faces completely messy as they eat, as if to show how good the burger is. For some reason it grosses me out.

  7. Kagey, Kyle hates those Carl’s Jr ads too! He also hates anything with crunching, so Doritos ads get muted.

  8. Like others have mentioned, we have a DVR, so ads are few and far between here.

    That being said, I blogged ages ago about the Orbit Gum Dirty Words commercial. That particular one made me laugh SO HARD. (The one that starts out with the “you son of a biscuit eating bulldog! What the French Toast?” Needless to say, we have the entire thing memorized.) But, I can’t stand most of the other ones…

    Besides that commercial, I do pause, rewind and watch the new Mac vs. PC commercials. I love those!


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