Thursday, November 20, 2008

Advertising that misses the mark

If you are over 40, you may be puzzled by some of the advertising you see on TV. Crude humor, dizzying digital effects, music that makes you dive for the "mute" button ... Who are these ads aimed at? Well, not you or me. These commercials are created by 20-something ad agency creatives. They don't get how to communicate with any generation but their own. Little geeks.

If you are over 40 and a "Daily Show" fan, you see a lot of ad messages aimed at teens. Like ads for violent video games where players steal cars and AK-47s, shoot, stab or run over each other with big SUVs, and generally stomp evilly around a dark, sinister cityscape. Heck, you can play that game for free by visiting certain East Kansas City neighborhoods.

What do advertisers think I want with a fast-food quadruple bypass burger with cheese, bacon, butter, lard, goose fat and any other artery-clogging ingredients the company can think of? The chief consumers of these gastronomical monstrosities are dietetically illiterate male teens and 20-somethings.

On the other end of the scale, am I the only person under age 60 who watches the network news? Between Charlie Gibson's reports, I'm tortured by intelligence-insulting "slice of life" commercials for hemorrhoid creams, anti-gas tablets, constipation cures, heart medicines, diabetes blood sugar thingies, and Viagra (Sure, I believe a group of "guys" sitting around singing about an erectile dysfunction medicine.). Hey, the news is bad enough. Just leave me alone if you want to talk about your personal physical dysfunctions.

So the net of it is, in the world of advertising, you're either under 40 or over 60. Or if you are between those two ages, you are a candidate for investment services, online trading, insurance and cruise vacations. What if you're between 40 and 60 and don't have a pot to pee in? Well, for you, there's Walmart. And hey, you can probably buy a pot there, cheap.

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