advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Has the ad industry abandoned Hope?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Feels like it. I saw a clip of John Stewart on tv.gawker about the recent follow the mosque money trail tear that Fox is on, and it just compounded something I was thinking recently, that maybe the ad industry thinks it doesn’t have to support Obama openly anymore. Why would they need to, when The Daily Show picks up the baton and takes on the Fox News disinformation campaign nightly.

All I remember is when Obama started appearing on the radar before the election, the industry couldn’t wait to grab on and embrace Hope—aka, anyone not Bush. You could smell the palpable buzz. YOU COULD. Celebs came out in videos practically every week to show support. Hope posters were everywhere as brands rode a wave of optimism. Hipsters in iconic, ironic tees rejoiced! Hello Pepsi, guilty as charged with your new red, white and blue logo.

Now? Absolute crickets.

Granted, not everyone in the industry is a Democrat, and, agencies are usually interested in only the work they can get paid for: campaign plays out, winner takes all with no need to promote anymore once the election is done. I get that. But it feels like something else at work.

The Tea Party and GOP have used advertising to keep their message alive with YouTube clips on mosquerading as ads that probably never ran on TV. This is forcing Democrats to almost distance themselves from Obama and making their support of him conspicuous by its absence. They now watch as Obama’s Change message is being shoved back down their throats by the bottom feeders of the ad biz who will work for any client, anywhere, throwing guns and innuendo into spot any chance they get.*

See, advertising does work, people.

Is the silence just calmer heads prevailing, waiting to see where things shake out? Or is it a reflection on an industry that sells stuff that sometimes, they get it wrong when a product doesn’t live up to the hype? Maybe they feel responsible considering the current state of the country.

Wouldn’t it behoove the industry though to get behind him again, or at least promote America and productivity and the sense of optimism we had? Not just through the paid client work from brands either, even though perhaps it thinks client work is enough to accomplish that mission. After all, more products sold equals more ad dollars spent equals more people working to fill up the shelves again.

I mean in a larger sense.

Talk about patriotism all you want in your commercials, but Levi’s cares about America only in as much as they can sell jeans. Are American workers really buying $70 jeans? Or whatever’s on sale that week. Latter! And when it came time for bailout money, BDAs couldn’t wait to start selling America that Detroit dream again.

What about the rest of the time? Is it a case of the industry taking a breather from its endless Ad Council award show fodder? Put down the don’t text and drive spots and instead start doing PSAs on putting the country back to work. Granted, not an easy thing to do with a straight face given the industry’s constant employment turmoil.

As funny and spot on as he is though, something’s wrong when the only one speaking up is John Stewart.

*The U.S. Supreme Court reversal allowing private companies to support PACs is coming into its own now, and will have the biggest impact on the election process. Why spend money on attacking your opponent when a PAC will do it for you.

No comments: