Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Well, Hotmail's spending a lot of money on dumb ads. That's nice to see. This one is just across the Belltown-downtown border at 2nd & Stewart. What the hell is it supposed to mean? This "new busy" concept is a good thing, right? I can't tell. When I first read this, I thought: "Stamps on their hands? Are trying to mail themselves somewhere? Is that what this new busy is all about?" I've seen several other ads in the series and they're no better. I worked for years in ad agencies and I've seen my share of bad campaigns. So far, this is one of the worst I've witnessed in a while. Other notables in the past were those Chrysler commercials featuring the Daimler-Chrysler CEO, Dieter Zetsche. People thought he was just an actor, not a real person exhibiting his company's products. There was also a KFC campaign from five years ago whose only selling point for popcorn chicken was that it had "fewer crumbs." Millions and millions of dollars were spent telling the public that they wouldn't have to trouble with crumbs. Ah, the Bush years. And now we have this Hotmail thing with its vague concept, vapid copy, non-connection with audience and unclear payoff. Honestly, it's always kind of exhilarating watching large companies waste piles of money on so-called "awareness campaigns," but I always end up wondering whether anyone was aware that it was so bad before it hit the street. This isn't Mad Men. We don't have a bunch of hard-drinking womanizers waxing esoteric about human desire. That's not how the ad business works. Whatever the goal is of this campaign is uncertain. I already have Hotmail. I like it fine. I doubt that these ads are going to make anybody switch over. But feel free to toss greater sums of money at it. Maybe a few people might join your "new busy" revolution. Good luck with that.
Posted by Igor Keller