Be afraid… be very afraid.

I caught this ad yesterday by chance. At first I was intrigued, I thought the concept seemed neat and execution was well done.

That was of course till I got to the end….

You could cue the foghorn sound in my head. Come on now.

Maybe they polled this message before running it, but it seems incredibly tone deaf and off-emotion:

“American creativity and innovation are under attack” (by who China) and “Foreign criminals” (who, terrorists, chinese hackers).  No! the threat is people downloading movies and music illegally, what wait?

It’s big build up for such a… petty payoff. It feels way disingenuous, like a group of big executives came together and schemed, let’s make it about America and American ingenuity, yeah, that’s the ticket.  We’ll scare people into supporting SOPA, they don’t need to understand it (because if they did they’d probably be against it),  they’re easy marks.

Now I’m worked up.

This ad is insulting actually, it’s premise is that you can just scare folks into agreeing with you. To be honest it pisses me off, it’s the worst kind of cynical advertising, and despite the nifty graphics and cool execution it’s garbage.

Whatever the reasoning even if there is a more innocent rationale for the ad, I think it’ll be incredibly ineffective. I just can’t see this ad getting people worked up, it won’t resonate because it so obviously trying to make a mountain out of mole-hill, why should anyone care? Because of “foreign criminals”? Do they really want me to believe that the greatest threat to American innovation is online piracy? How about our industrial age model school systems, maybe we ought to start, huh.

Think of the same basic message, but maybe you have a below the line worker, a grip or gaffer talking about how piracy costs them money out of their pocket (I’ve had that argument made to me before by a gaffer).  That kind of personal connection might work, because it helps to make this big issue of piracy (who’s it really hurting, big movie studios) into something personal (it’s hurting regular guys and gals like Joe Gaffer).

But unless you have Michael Bay up there talking about how he’s leaving the movie business because he can’t make money anymore because of internet piracy…. Ok, even then it probably wouldn’t be believable.

All this hyperbole over online piracy, just misses the mark, either people don’t see it as stealing or if they do, they see themselves as Robin Hoods, fighting the good fight against big corporations. My guess is that the best argument to make is to make it personal (show the victim) or reframe piracy as stealing (which they do in those movie previews) and appeal to people’s better angels.  But this ad makes it all seem like an epic moral struggle of good v. evil, and it’s just not that in most people’s minds, sorry.

The only good news about this ad is the fact that it’s so bad, it’s a good bet that no one will want to illegally download it.


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One Response to “Be afraid… be very afraid.”

  1. Olive Says:

    They really remind me of this is your brain on drugs which was so completely out of sync with the experience of people getting high by smoking a joint, even if they did it every day or drinking on weekends, even the dread binge drinking on weekends that they told us that teenager and young adults were guilty of. It made those ads a joke, rather than a cautionary note or a place to start discussion. Ridiculous. The hyperbole is so extreme, so exaggerated that it loses the audience and i term of next time, they’ll be working from a deficit of credibility because, as you point out, it simply isn’t believable.

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