Posts Tagged ‘clever and stupid’

Real honest to goodness authenticity (and we really mean it)

May 6, 2013

I talk a lot about authenticity here. That’s because the best stories, the most compelling storytelling has truth and authenticity at its’ core. It’s not always enough for something to be true, it also has to ring true. That’s a hard lesson to live by.. . I remember many years ago working on an ad, we put a number in there for some fact or another, the number was 100% abosultely true, but it was so large, it just felt… unbelievable. We ended up taking it out because it required too much of the viewer.

I’m all for pushing viewers, not catering to the lowest common denominator as so many ads (political and otherwise) do these days, but you also have to know your audience, and understand their mindset. Like I’ve said before, it’s a fine line between stupid and clever. 

(The Walmart video has several videos all about the same in message and emotion.)

Walmart and JC Penny, both trying to convey a mea culpa of sorts. Walmart of course trying to make themselves something other than the huge behemoth crushing local business and wages, a comapny that treats it’s employees as cheaply as its products. JC Penny fresh off trying to transform itself with Ron Johnson, who ran the Apple stores for so many years, facing falling stock prices and sales.

Both comapnies deserve credit for confronting the elephant in the room, and realizing that they have issues, that shouldn’t be ignored. The question about both of these ads are they authentic in any way?

Is JC Penny really sorry? Are they sorry for not listening or because their changes failed to draw more customers?

Is Walmart really the great place to work and shop they say it is? Just because they say it with happy music and happy customers (and employees) does that make it true?

There’s a story my mom tells… One day the phone rang, my dad answered. “Mr Strasberg,” the voice on the other line asked,”We’re calling for President Nixon….”

“Yes,” my dad answered unphased.

“Yes, we were hoping you could help us with a problem… We’d like you to help us make the President look truthful.”

“I see,” said my dad, “Well, that’s easy, if you want to make the President truthful, then have him tell the truth.”

This is the essential problem with both these ads, and all ads like these ones. The truth speaks for itself. Trust is earned, truth can’t just be created it has to be bought, not with money or air time, but with hard authentic work. There’s no short cut to truth except truth itself. I think both JC Penny and Walmart are going to find this lesson out the hard way.

 

 

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One small problem

September 28, 2010

Some good hits in this ad, and it’s a nice twist  — usually it’s Republicans saying Democrats are in line with the Taliban or the terrorists or whatever.

Oh, what’s the problem?  Just this little fact:

“Grayson has lowered the bar even further. He’s using edited video to make his rival appear to be saying the opposite of what he really said,” the nonpartisan site, sponsored by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, wrote on its blog Monday.”

The truth? Oh, that…. Here’s the thing, you got your opponent with some pretty extreme votes. That’s some pretty good evidence, why overplay your hand, by taking his comments out of context and deliberately misrepresenting them? It’s just stupid.  Now instead of voters hearing how extreme what’s his name is, they hear Grayson lied about what’s his name. And the extreme part? That sort of gets lost, ignored or worse, becomes part of the lie.

On a personal level, an ad like this makes me angry.  It’s one thing to spin, to try and create a narrative with your opponents record or even ascribe motives to their actions, it’s another thing to knowingly lie and distort. Either the person who made this ad, doesn’t have any morals, are so contemptuous of voters they think they can lie to them with impunity, are amateurs or all three.  This kind of ad is why folks hate political ads. There really should be some penalty for this kind of shamelessness.

Ad infinitum: Only the Shadow knows

August 11, 2010

I can’t decide if this ad is actually good or is actually a Saturday Night Live skit.  To quote Spinal Tap again, “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.”

I like the lighting and walking off screen at the end.  There’s a sincerity about it, but it is almost comical and it pisses me off, which further makes it hard to decide if it’s any good.


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