advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Americans: America is Back. Right?

Right? And we’re doing what we do best: Americanizing. Where else would you rather be than right here, right now, America! I saw this piece in the New York Times about a message of American resurgence now sweeping across advertising’s Great Plains. I took the tone of the piece to be slightly more negative though.

Maybe it was the use of TARP money to help a few brands continue to mislead the American public even further? (With the blessing of a few agency heads who apparently have no problem doing their part in this regard.)

Then I came across a beautiful spot for New Balance. Even though I swear by them as the most comfortable running show I’ve ever owned, I didn’t know they were made in America. Who knew! Underaged and exploited child labor? Not for NB.

The Made in America message, while lost on many these days, is at least more credible here than the one in the financial spots which say Hey, look, we’re back! Especially when we’re not yet.

Where Wieden+Kennedy’s bold Levi’s spots celebrate the spirit of the product and the demo who uses it, New Balance focuses on where they come from and the way the product is made. Compare that with the way American Apparel seems to hide behind the MIA theme, but instead, is undermined by the exploits of CEO Dov.

Regardless, most of the spots in the article are typical of Sunday morning news roundtable fare, supertanker productions from supertanker agencies. (George Parker calls them BDAs–Big Dumb Agencies—while others call them dinosaurs.)

However, as long as there’s big TV “events” like the Super Bowl, the Academy Awards, etc., hubris dictates there’ll still need to be “big” moments in commercials to go along with them. And the only way to get them is from a supertanker agency (not a cool little interactive shop).

Which means no end in sight for self-congratulatory internal videos masquerading as TV spots from companies making lightbulbs and missile defense systems in Mississippi. (SAVE the emails. I love Mississippi. Forest Gump? Great movie. Oh wait, that was Alabama.)

I’m not seeing how they belong in the same discussion relative to American heritage. Besides, didn’t Obama usher in an era of optimism throughout society? I hadn’t realized we’d had a Hope relapse and needed new ads.

So while slowly waving American flags, freshwater rapids churning productivity anew, and dramatic sunsets with ethereal track seem played, they work here.

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