Archive | March, 2014

We all need silly stuff

13 Mar

It’s hard not to argue with a statement like this. I love silly stuff. I pass on and share a lot of silly stuff that lands in my inbox or on my Facebook timeline every week. But an ad that is 100% pure silly stuff? Really? Have a look at this:

I could be wrong, but this seems to be a direct response to this ad:

So, we have a phone company creating a 60 second ad showing a cat trying to be a dog, and a phone company creating a 60 second ad showing a kid and a cat on a bike singing ‘We built this city on rock and roll.’

Dear God.

Did someone somewhere forget the meaning of the word advertising? You have 60 seconds (a luxury in these straitened times) to tell people something good about your product. How they might benefit from it. Why it’s better than its competitors. Just one thing. I remember we pitched for one of the 118 Directory Enquiries companies that sprang up after 192 became a free for all. They had absolutely no edge over their competitors, but they had a pet dog that hung around their call centre. We begged them to let us use the story of the dog to present them as a bunch of really nice people, but our begging fell on deaf ears. At least we tried. 

So, what’s the message that Three, one of our nation’s largest phone providers, want us to remember? That less calls than ever are being dropped? That they have the best 3 and 4G coverage of any provider? That they have buddied up with an entertainment brand to give us cheap concert tickets? No. It’s that we all need silly stuff.

I’ll leave you to decide whether the singing girl/cat combo is silly enough for you to pass on to all your FB friends. But even if you think it is, what is it advertising? What is the O2 cat, an ad that has garnered millions of views, actually advertising? Or is it enough to be liked? Well, here we hit a pretty major problem. O2 wanted to be liked and brought out their cat ad. Three decided that it also wanted to be liked and brought out their cat ad. So it’s now down to which cat ad we like. Without any stats, facts, figures or sales messages, these two competing brands are now competing on winning the hearts of viewers by creating memes which they hope will be shared virally and whose success is measured in hits and likes. This is not called advertising, it is called entertainment. And once we become a bunch of entertainers rather than salespeople, we have to wonder what we all got in this for.