Advertising Rants

One of my biggest pet peeves is poor advertising. Not poorly designed, necessarily--although that doesn't rank very high on my list--I'm talking about poorly executed. I came across two examples of this today.

Driving north on 95 this afternoon, I came across this billboard:

The message is simple: look at these 3 very different people who share the same surname! Where else but in America would you find that!

The problem is what I take away from it: Homer Simpson, OK, that's fine, I can dig it. But Jessica Simpson is perhaps better known for her bra size--and not being bright enough to figure out the difference between chicken and tuna--than for her marginal singing talent (and believe me, talent is used very loosely here). And OJ... I know, I know, he was once a great football player, he won the Heisman Trophy; but unfortunately, that's not what he's famous for today. He's got that nasty little car chase/murder trial/"If I did do it" book.

So this is what we're bragging about in America?

The campaign somewhat works with other people/places/things: Wall Street, Bourbon Street, Sesame Street; Superman, Superbowl, Super Sized... But the whole Simpson idea was, let's face it, a pretty bad one.

The other poorly executed billboard was not much farther up the road. This one was for BMW of Bridgeport, and, as Mattio will attest, irks me to no end.

When I think of BMW, I think high end. They are a luxury car, and that's how they market themselves--except in this instance. The billboard is simple; it says "From up here, I can see BMW of Bridgeport." Then, sitting on top of the sign, there's a 3D model of a man... looking towards Fairfield.

See, BMW of Bridgeport is located in the heart of, you guessed it, Bridgeport (the name kind of gives it away). But the billboard is on 95 north facing Fairfield. So the model either needs to be turned around, or he's got to have some Exorcism-like neck moves in order to see the dealership. Actually, he's really looking towards Mercedes Benz of Fairfield; perhaps something BMW should have thought about.

So not only is it a completely misleading ad; but it's not doing anything to sell this car. This beautiful, luxurious, expensive car. Instead, to me, it's selling the view of the billboard. I can see where whoever thought this idea up might think that they're selling proximity ("Hey, you're really close to BMW of Bridgeport! Just keep driving in the opposite direction of where our billboard tells you!"), but the whole package just doesn't work.

Boo, boo, boo, all around.

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