Lots Of Weak, Recycled Spots That Don’t Lead Anybody Anywhere

The other day, Gary Vaynerchuk predicted that Super Bowl advertisers would extend the story told in their Super Bowl ads to online venues, and that these extensions would have us talking on Monday morning.

Didn’t happen (except in a few rare exceptions). In fact, if you look at the Toyota Camry spot, to name just one, it ends with the point that all Camry drivers have stories to tell. Yet, there’s no pointer for the viewer to follow, no place to hear more Camry-centric stories, or to tell them. Granted, there is a Toyota.com graphic at the end of the spot, but that’s hardly the “force ’em online” that Vaynerchuk had in mind.

Which says what? Does it say that when it comes to Super Bowl advertising, it really is all about the TV audience, and the nerds with second and third screens can buzz off? I think it might.

In related news, Bob Hoffman is very disheartened by what he saw on Sunday.

This could be a turning point. It could be the year that the ad industry throws in the towel, admits it is bankrupt, and hands the keys over to the metrics maniacs.

I am afraid the advertising industry has been infiltrated by people who don’t really believe in advertising, don’t care much for it, and are not very good at it.

I feel Bob’s pain, but there will be no admission of defeat from industry spokespersons. The industry will continue to respond to clients’ whims, and to trends in media (like consumer-generated spots). What very few in the ad business will successfully do is lead. There’s reactive and proactive, and the ad business is the former, because we are all in client service.

Only a handful of agencies have ever shifted to a proactive stance, but even those masters have retreated, and begun to recycle their old spots, instead of driving hard to find a new way to do TV and a new way to make meaning in consumers’ minds.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.