Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Names will be named
Years ago I made the mistake of putting a friend's name in a blog posting hoping he would understand the tongue-in-cheek nature of the piece. It backfired. I publicly apologized. And swore never to name names in any RoundSeventeen blog posting.
Today I'm welching on that promise.
For two reasons.
First, I'm getting to a privileged point in my career where I just don't give a shit anymore.
And second, I've come to the painful conclusion that what I write matters to no one because frankly no one (apart from you faithful fourteen followers) is reading what I'm writing.
So what bullshit am I calling bullshit on?
Years ago, I was in charge of advertising for El Pollo Loco advertising. They had a minuscule budget and an ambitious media plan. Somehow we had figured a way to make 45 TV commercials on less than $250,000. Even by 2004 standards, that was quite a feat.
One day, the account people requested my attendance for a meeting with the folks from Cruz Kravetz, their Hispanic Marketing Agency. They were going to produce some El Pollo Loco commercials and thought it would be a good idea to get some guidance.
The money I was told I didn't have for production was being used to fund the production of other commercials. Why, I naively thought, are we making two different sets of commercials?
Because, as the bullshit machine was slowly being cranked to 11, Hispanics eat El Pollo Loco's citrus-marinated, fire grilled chicken for completely different reasons than general market Caucasians or African Americans.
You see, I was under the mistaken impression that people from Mexico or El Salvador or Belize might enjoy EPL because they were hungry or appreciated fresh chicken or authentic salsa and tortillas.
But that, it turns out, is a narrow white man's view of the world devoid of any ethnographic insight.
As the Cruz Kravetz experts expertly pointed out, Hispanic people are all about, "family, passion and the family-oriented, passionate preparation of food products."
And then I was treated to a cavalcade of storyboards featuring large families. Being passionate. Eating chicken. And then, impossibly, being more passionate.
If it weren't so politically incorrect I would have told these professionals exactly what I thought of their fiesta de mierda.
They are by no means alone in their hoodwinking.
I've never had the pleasure of sitting in with an African-American speciality boutique, but I can spot their spots a mile away. Most often in car commercials. The copy, accompanied by needle-drop 'urban' music, invariably includes nonsense like "flow", "smooth" or "get your drive on."
Frankly if I were Hispanic or black I would be seriously offended by these cliched marketing approaches.
Then again, who am I to judge. I'm not a member of any minority. I'm just a white Jew. And the only advertising I respond to usually involves liquidation sales or 30% discounts.
Wait a minute…