Sunday, August 9, 2009
Just because it sells products, doesn't make it good branding
The other night I found myself perched high on a soapbox I've mounted a number of times since entering into the world of advertising. The essence of my stance was that there should be no bad advertising. Period. It's my belief that consumers deserve to be exposed to good ads. Sure, sure I recognize that "good" and "bad" are highly subjective terms but I'm not talking about the definition of "good" that I as an advertising professional would assign to advertising. I'm talking about how my mom, sister or any other non-ad person would define bad. The bad ads that I'm referring to, and those that sparked this debate, are the scream-to-be-heard types that are often associated with direct response or automotive commercials. The argument that's typically made in favor of this style of assaulting communication is that if it works (works = sells products) then it's good advertising. In same breath that the argument is made, products like the Snuggie, Sham Wow and the Chia Pet are used as support. True, these are successful sales stories. But what they are not are successful brand stories.
Advertising should not only be used to sell products, but also to build brands. The need to achieve both of these things is why the "as long as it sells products it's good advertising" argument fails. And while yelling at consumers may get their attention and may even result in sales, it's lack of brand building is where it misses the boat and is therefore bad advertising.
Ok, stepping down now.