I don’t really know anything about the advertising industry. In fact, everything I think I know probably comes from commercials and television shows. Considering that my knowledge of the advertising industry comes from the industry itself, you would think it would be a little more positive.
Here’s what I picture whenever I see a goofy ad–and there are so very many!
I picture a group of people sitting around a conference room table. Some are leaning on the table, some are leaning back in their chairs, and some are tweeting about the boring meeting. Basically, it’s a fourth grade classroom all over again. Except people are wearing business attire, not Catholic school uniforms.
In the middle of the table are pitchers of water and stale Danishes. There’s the one Danish that someone took half of, then someone took half of the half…halves keep disappearing until all that’s left are a few crumbs held together in an unappetizing lump. No one will ever take the entire remaining half. At one end of the table someone put her lips on a powdered sugar donut and is now moaning that she’s sick and needs to go home. The only pale part of her body is her lips, of course.
Starbucks cups litter the table top. There are multiple empty cups in front of the jitteriest attendee. He makes a lot of erratic movements and people watch him out of the corner of their eyes. No one wants to look directly at him because he has a tendency to mis-read social cues.
All of these people are gathered to create a new advertising campaign for something we all really don’t need.
They shout ideas. They brainstorm. After an hour or so, someone decides they should be taking notes and grabs the dry erase marker. She complains that she can’t keep up with the ideas being spewed so quickly and many are lost as people wait their turns.
Lunch time! A half hour is taken up arguing about what they should eat. Another half hour is lost to taking the orders. Fifteen minutes alone are spent on the person who can’t order directly off the menu and needs his special dietary needs met. While waiting for the food to be delivered, conversation centers on stories from the previous weekend and on plans for the upcoming weekend. Then conversation drifts to the hot new employee and his relationship status.
After lunch, people are more subdued. Food has deadened the caffeine buzz and sugar high. A malaise sets in. That’s when the group cheerleader hops up and tries to motivate everyone
“Just one good idea!’ He fist pumps the air, “We can do it!”
Someone lays his head on the table and starts snoring, someone tilts back in his chair and someone pretend sneezes, “Bullshit!”
The ideas flow much more slowly now. The mood is somber. Things that sounded great before lunch now seem beyond lame. Nothing sounds right. Someone is sent on a Starbucks run.
Someone points out that it’s nearly the end of the work day. If they want to leave at a decent hour they need to come up with a great idea ten minutes ago.
Then someone speaks very softly, “We’re like a cult…with better Kool-Aid…”
“That’s. A. Wonder. Full. Idea.” A voice whispers from the other side of the room.
Silence. People look at each other in awe. An idea has been born. And they run with it.
Even though someone points out that it is a tasteless idea, they run with it.
“Margaritas are like Kool-Aid! Kool-Aid kills…but margaritas heal!”
“Jonestown happened so long ago that no one even remembers it! No one will even get our reference!”
“Yeah, they’ll just think of that giant Kool-Aid guy running around. Hey, did that scare anyone like it scared me? He was scary…”
“We won’t use the Kool-Aid guy…just a margarita glass. People will see the margarita and stop thinking. We’ll rim the glass with lots of salt…add a lime.”
“C’mon, Jonestown wasn’t that big a deal. Just a few people died…”