Monday, November 23, 2015

Crappy Holidays

If you work in the world of car advertising it is once again The Most UnWonderful Time of the Year.

You know what I'm talking about: the end of year sales events.

To illustrate today's post, I've selected a picture that does not feature any recognizable logo. I'm 44 years old and have been doing car advertising for a long time and I'll be damned if I could tell you who makes the car pictured above. It doesn't matter. Not only do all the cars look alike these days. So does their advertising.

It's no ones but fault but our own.

We use the same directors. Who cast the same people. To shoot at the same tired collection of locations (I'm looking at you Modern, Upscale Architecturally Designed House with the sleek kitchen featuring white cabinets, white subway tile and black soapstone counters).

And, in this sea of sameness, we roll out the same chirpy dialogue and the same over-enthusiastic call to action.

I'm not indicting anyone. Or any particular agency. Hell, I'm a mercenary and have been complicit in many of these bedshitting sales events. Moreover, if the check clears, I'm happy to help you with next year's Non-Denominational, Gift Giving Clearance Extravaganza.

I'll sift through hours of running footage. I'll cast perky plasticine people. And I'll sort through cut after cut of energetic, holiday-ish music that inoffensively captures the spirit of Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza while simultaneously driving hordes of people to their nearest ____________ dealer. Offer ends soon.

Of course, it doesn't have to be like that.

Five years ago, I was hired by my friend and one of the best creative directors in the business, John Hage, to put together a different kind of Year End Sales Event. It was one of the best freelance assignments I ever experienced.

We were given time to explore different directions. None of this, "Here's the three page brief, let's check in and see where you're at after lunch."

We hired a great director, Rick LeMoine.

We found actors who could improvise.

And we had a client who trusted our decisions and gave us enough leash to poke around Quirkyland and put people on screen doing and saying things that usually end up on the cutting room floor. Or on Director's cuts.

You know me, I don't like to self-promote or toot my own horn, but I went back and viewed a few of the dozen spots (art directed by the amazing Stan Toyama) and they still produce a laugh. So, in that immodest holiday spirit of sharing…

No one is suggesting that you buy a $40,000 car as a gift for your loved one. If you can afford it and need a new set of wheels that's great. But it is hardly the only the present that will bring a smile of delight.

Sometimes that can be accomplished with a basket of Incredible Edibles. Or, if your spouse isn't tickled by the notion of chocolate covered cantaloupe, what about a book?

Who doesn't love getting a book?


Bob said...

The whole category could be perked-up by simply re-naming it The End Times Sales Event.

(You know Rick Lemoine? Great guy. His wife was my AD partner at Riney, NY.)

JohnA in LA said...

I find pretty much the same copy in the current crop of sales event ads as the ones I worked on starting in the late 80's. Hey, a call to action is a call to action!

William Kauker said...

Haven't you been 44 for about ten years now?