Monday, April 9, 2012

Who's to blame for bad advertising?

         When you see a bad ad, who deserves the credit? Is the client, the company that runs it, to blame? That's not fair. Sure, it's their money, but they're the experts on their own business. They know how to make soup, or cars, or deodorant, but they hire ad agencies to do the ads.

          Should we blame the ad agency? They were hired to do ads, not bad ads. But of course, they had to do something the client would approve. Of course, they never had to present a bad ad to the client; that was the agency's decision.

          Maybe we should blame the reader. She's the one the ad is talking to. Perhaps the agency thinks she likes bad ads. Of course, that's absurd. She hates bad ads more than we do. She won't even pay attention to them.

           I know! We'll blame the magazine or TV network that accepts the ad.  They should certainly know better. How dare they insult their subscribers. Don't they respect us?

           No, being the type of person who's ready to feel guilty about everything, I accept the blame. If we writers and art directors created a bad ad, it's our fault.  We risk upsetting everybody. We should never, ever, execute a bad piece of advertising. It should new leave our computers, never be presented to our bosses, never shown to a client.

            If we execute a bad ad, we should be sued for malpractice, and drummed out of the creative department.

            Don't misunderstand. We all make mistakes. I okayed a woman's promotion for an oil company with the headline "Women's Lube". I also got nasty letters from the Bible Belt because I okayed an ad that showed Adam, the first person, with a navel.

            But if I know an ad is bad, and don't fix it or withdraw it, it's my fault. I degraded my profession and I didn't have to.There's always a good way to solve a problem.

             Of course if we only did good ads, we'd be rich and famous and who wants that?  

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