Monday, August 07, 2006

What the Hell is That?

So I was checking out the forecast on for the upcoming week when I spy the image over there on the right.

What the hell is that all about?

I stared at it for a good 40 seconds, and then called a colleague over to look at it, to see if she could make out what was being pushed by this ad.

She looks at it for a few seconds, and says: "It's some sort of drug."

Gee. Ya think?

I had that much figured out on my own already.

But what the hell drug advertises itself with Abe Lincoln and a gopher waiting for you to drive them in your sidecar?

OK, let me rephrase that: what legally prescribed non-recreational drug would use such an advertisement?

Turns out it's for a sleeping pill.

But it's an interesting testament to where we are as a society with ads. This is a fourth-level ad--one that makes you actively search for the product being sold, and then makes you try to figure out what the pitch is.

I work in advertising, although none of my clients would ever have the balls to use a campaign like this. Most of them are afraid of advertising. They go at it very timidly. They may make noises about how they want something different, but after a few go-rounds, it's always the same script.

As a joke, I once wrote a fill-in-the-blank piece of copy, because I was so sick of doing the same freaking commercial over and over again. Remember Mad Libs? Remember how much fun it was, sitting around with a guy asking you to choose verbs, nouns, and adjectives, and then he'd read a story with those words plugged in?

OK--it was pretty much the Worst Party Game Ever. But now you remember.

The copy I wrote was essentially that. It started out--as all bad ad copy does, with those words of doom: 'Quality and Value is what you get when you [VERB][PRODUCT] at [PLACE]!"

It went on like that, thirty seconds of dreck, with prompts for adjectives, people's names, and addresses.

We all thought it was hilarious. I put a copy up on the bulletin board so we could all get a laugh.

Within a week, three salesmen had filled out copies for client scripts.

I took the copy down.

This was about five years ago. At least once a month, an Ad Exec stops by and asks for a copy of 'the script' for their client.

I gotta hit the sack. Abe and Punxatawny Phil are calling my name.



Blogger Madame X said...

I thought it was an ad for an E.D. drug.

I thought what was missing was cupid.
Abe, gopher...February...Valentine's Day
I need coffee

7:10 AM  
Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...

They made you look!

7:13 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

i saw the commercial the other day on TV

i'd much rather dream about them than the cockroaches i've been dreaming about lately

8:58 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

X: You never stray too far off-topic, do ya?
Not saying that's a bad thing...

Notso: My point exactly.

Colleen: Dreaming about roaches means there's a major part of your life that needs reevaluation.

Either that, or your kitchen floor's dirty.


9:06 AM  
Blogger WeeOne said...

That ad reminds me of Monty Python's bored cat skit... where they put on a show meant to confuse the cat.

By the way...
I have a (adjective)(noun) that's (verb)ing and would like to (verb) it.

2:27 PM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

Who knows what these drugs are for these days?

8:59 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Ooh! I know!

These drugs are for making money for the pharmaceutical companies.


9:38 AM  
Blogger Nölff said...

Who ever made that probably took drugs... Good drugs.

4:02 PM  
Blogger terry said...

loving the mad lib commercial copy... especially the way it got used...!


1:15 AM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Some of my best acid trips included an animal and a dead president...

11:24 AM  

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