Monday, March 12, 2007

Watch. React. Tell a friend.

It must be the game designer in me, but I am always fascinated about how advertising design comes about. Whenever I see an ad or a product, I wonder who got the job of choosing the color, the font, and especially the text.

Really. Where do they come up with this stuff?

Lazy Sunday

Take NBC.

There was a funny video called Lazy Sunday from Saturday Night live. NBC, in their infinite foolishness, but like so many other companies before them trying to "control the brand", watched the popularity of this skit blossom around the internet spawning dozens of parody/tributes, and then decided to serve notice and take it down from everywhere and put it only on NBC's site.

Here is what you read when you go to NBC's site to watch the video:
Now, instead of searching the web for "borrowed" NBC highlights, you can go to the source! We've taken your viral favorites and gathered them into one convenient location. Watch. React. Tell a friend.
Wow. Who writes this stuff?

Do they really think that people search the web for "NBC highlights"? Or, do they think by calling it that that this will make it into a brand? And how did it become a "viral favorite" to begin with?

Envision the youth of today, each one telling his or her friend: "Oh, you have to check out the latest NBC highlight!"

Do they think that adding the word "borrowed", and in quotes no less, is going to make the clip better on NBC's site?

And, just to appear hip and cool, they want you to "watch," "react," and "tell a friend." But no, not by allowing the video to be embedded in your own web site, emailed, or posted in a popular location, but by requiring people who want to watch the NBC brand of video to "conveniently" have to go to NBC's site to watch it.
You asked for it... you got it. Here's the Chronic(what?)cles of Narnia!
Can't wait to share this clip with a friend? Fill in an email address and click send to make his or her day.
Yes, because a separate website and only being able to share by sending an email, which is collected without any sort of disclaimer by NBC, is so hip.

Their branding is so important to them, that they don't even call the video by the popular name it has acquired around the internet, but by the internal name that they gave it:
Saturday Night Live: Chronicles of Narnia
Writing Ad-copy

OK, so it's not so much NBC's cluelessness that I care about here; I want to know who is the guy or gal that sat down to write this? Did they have to be mind controlled by the suits? Or did they know what they had to say and spend a few minutes trying to come up with a way to spin it? Where does one get a job like that?


Just take a look at any of the ridiculous blurbs on a cereal box:
Post Honey Bunches of Oats cereal is one of America’s favorite breakfast cereals. With delicious, crunchy oat clusters and three kinds of flakes, every spoonful tastes a little different. Honey Bunches of Oats contains just the right amount of sweetness to appeal to the entire family. It’s the cereal you’d make if you made cereal!
Someone had to write this. I imagine a middle-age ad man in a sunlit room in the country on a golden, beautiful morning. He pours himself a bowl of cereal and milk. He tastes it, like a fine wine. Crunches disturb the bird-song of the country.

Suddenly, he says to himself: "It's the cereal I'd make if I made cereal! By golly! We should write that on the box!"

The text is sent around the massive Kraft foods bureaucracy. Meetings are scheduled. Department heads put their teams together. Arguments break out. Fisticuffs fly. A crisis in management. Suddenly, the boss slams his hands on the table. Quiet reigns in the board room.

"I like it," says the boss. There is an outbreak of applause.

And that's how dumb things get onto your cereal boxes.

It is apparent that I know nothing about the advertising industry. Just think of getting paid to come up with things like this. Man, I could do that.


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