Friday, January 17, 2014

Ads and Me

Piggybacking off that Pizza Nova jingle, which is forever aurally embedded in my brain...

(The guy who sings that insanely catchy song is named Alfie Zappacosta. He is a Juno-winning singer/songwriter, formerly heading the rock band Surrender. One of his songs was on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. He's released several solo albums in styles ranging from smooth jazz to light rock. He still tours extensively, and he has publicly noted that the jingle for Pizza Nova will haunt him forever. People apparently request it at all his shows. Now that's effective advertising.

Advertising and I have a very strange relationship. I don't share many people's automatic disdain, even hatred, for all things commercial (hey, sellers gotta sell)...but at the same time most of the advertisements I tune out in the course of my day are not even remotely relevant to me, which is why I tune them out.

As such, I really don't understand the brouhaha over targeted ads.  Supposedly Google (corporate motto: "Don't Be Evil") is evil now because it has streamlined collecting your data for use in targeted advertising.  Really? That's a good thing. Since a world without advertising is completely unrealistic, I ask you: what's better? The current world where I get tampon commercials while I'm eating my fish soup, or my world where every ad you see is for something you're actually potentially interested in buying or using?

There are any number of things I don't believe should need to advertise and yet they do, extensively. A very partial list:

The LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). Not because I have any problem with alcohol being advertised, but because in Ontario they have no competition. Outside of bars and some grocery store wine kiosks with pitiful selection, there is nowhere you can legally buy their stock in this province, other than their stores. The fact they are government-owned irks me because it's taxpayer money being wasted here. Quite a bit of it, too: at least every other week my Saturday Globe and Mail includes a glossy, high quality magazine insert touting LCBO booze.

K-W Oktoberfest. Maybe I do have a problem with alcohol being advertised. But hey, I live here, and let me tell you, the most popular celebration of urinating in the street outside of Germany does not need to boost its attendance numbers in any way.

Tim Horton's. Maybe they could take some of the money they're spending on ads and oh, I don't know, EXPAND THEIR RESTAURANTS. More tills, more drive through lanes, more staff.  Maybe they think they need more customers. They don't.

While we're at it, feminine hygiene products of all sorts. Sorry, women, but this is your mother's job. No man wants to see the words "yeast" and "infection" in the same commercial break. I'm sure each and every one of you has tampon/pad preferences, and you can keep those to yourselves as well. If there's any male-oriented product you women would just as soon pretend doesn't exist, by all means add it to the list.


I do wish I lived in Europe--the ads there are a cut above, mostly because they don't pretend they're targeted at a nation of five year olds. Like this one (which is. needless to say. NSFW). I'm waiting for the day adults in commercials talk like adults. Not sure it'll ever happen in this society.

The best commercials, for my money, are the staged event ones that don't even show up on television, unless it's in a newscast. If you haven't seen WestJet Christmas "miracle", you really should. Yes, it's a PR stunt. So what? The fact is WestJet did it and other airlines didn't. It's also not a one-off: this sort of thing is a part of WestJet company culture, and as such it's a lot more genuine than cynics might suggest. It's also cheaper than conventional advertising. Time will tell if it is more effective. It certainly is with me.

4-3-9 oh-oh-oh-oh Pizza Nova!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the first time ever, I've enabled targeted ads on an online platform. on twitter, through my MetroTwit client. They're none-invasive and surprisingly releavant and useful to me. (occasionally anyway)