The ad biz has got to be one of the more brutal industries out there. You’ve gotta come up with something interesting, then do it again, and again. The fact that 99% of ads are uninteresting and forgettable I’m sure is a combination of “group creativity”, where many people need to review, comment on, change, and approve any campaign, taking something that might start out interesting, but perhaps a little edgy, and making it “palatable for the masses”. I don’t work in the ad industry, although I think I’ve got a small glimpse from working in high-tech where we still have to come up with products, and names, and campaigns around them. It’s tough.
But, every once in a while, someone finds a good combination. Not so edgy as to be litigation risk, a decent premise with some longevity so a series of ads can play on each other. The recent Apple ads are a generally good example. Humorous, sometimes a bit arrogant (which fits the stereotype), but playful and entertaining, and works as a series of ads over time.
My favorite recent (well, it’s over a year old now) ad campaign, however, is Dos Equis “The Most Interesting Man in the World” (MIM for short, it seems). The radio ads are my favorite, the TV and print ads are OK, the very short 15 second ads, probably the least effective, but still, a variety of ads in different media, that do work together. Perhaps my favorite part of all the bits was the closing of one of the TV ads, where MIM says “I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis”. What a great line. Not at all what I would have expected. Not “All I drink is beer”, not “all I can stomach is Dos Equis”, but rather an acknowledgment that there are other liquids that can be ingested, and other beers that don’t suck, however, when in the mood for beer, given a choice, MIM will drink Dos Equis. Brilliant.
I wish I could see the TV ads and listen to the radio ads online, but just like one of my other favorite campaigns in recent years, “Real Men of Genius” from Bud Light (boneless buffalo wing inventor still cracks me up), they don’t put all the ads online after they run. They apparently build a site at the beginning of the campaign, then never touch it again, and in this case, have YouTube take down any ads that pop up there. So, companies with good ads, fix that! Apple lets me watch their ads after they’ve released them, get with the program folks!
We can all learn some lessons from “MIM”. For instance, when he orders a salad, he doesn’t get the dressing on the side, he gets it right there, on top of the salad, where it belongs, where there is no turning back.