*Repost from last fall.
Nearly all American advertising is pathetic. Whatever the industry’s guiding principles, they churn out the most obnoxious and unimaginative commercials. And they’re broadcast as loudly as possible for ages.
I don’t know why this is our reality. Is drivel all the public can handle? Is the U.S. ad industry more restricted than other countries’? Are there too many demographics to reach and basic, hard-sell tactics work best?
The consequences are a waste of everyone’s time. Rather than being seduced through a subtle hint, we’re bombarded.
Instead of get white whites and brights bright and comparing t-shirts washed with Tide versus a “competing brand,” tell me a story. Maybe one tangentially about how clean clothing will improve my life beyond the obvious, with a quick nod in the direction of the product?
If nothing else, at least make the ads about humans. I recently saw one, on mute, for an antidepressant marketed to middle-aged women. It depicts hinge-jointed dolls shuffling in drab clothing—because they’re depressed, get it?
Suddenly, after taking a pill with infinite side effects, their joints are well oiled! In a show of happiness, they wear bright clothing and stiffly walk near each other in a park. I can assure you, depressed or not, there isn’t a middle-aged woman on Earth who wants to be compared to a weird doll, regardless of its clothing or mood.
Thanks to online streaming and premium cable, I’ve cocooned myself from commercials over the past few years. But watching Mr. Robot slams me with ads every four minutes. Disgruntled, I bring work into the living room, mute my laptop, and try hard to ignore the aesthetic atrocities happening on screen.
But once I forgot to cut the volume and heard this…
“Wherever it is you want to go, all you need to see is the next 200 feet. That's how life unfolds. A leap of faith. Even if you can't see it, your destination is out there. So just keep going. You'll get there, 200 feet at a time.”
All spoken calmly by a human man to other humans using his indoor voice.
An inspiring message to sell the Toyota Corolla to Americans? Impossibly refreshing.
Nothing about APR, fuel economy or mileage? Almost disorienting.
While I won't buy one, the Corolla’s commercial was delightful on two fronts. Yes, maybe there’s hope for U.S. ads. But mostly for the 200 feet concept. I’ve heard it before but never expected it be used so literally in a car commercial.
Because instead of freaking out over only having 200 feet to work with, we can recognize that’s 2,400 inches. Concentrate on them deeply, entirely, and closely. If you move step-by-step with unblinking devotion, the headlights will have no choice but to illuminate the way.
Pretty deep for a Corolla.
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