Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, New York
Ad review rating: Two and a half stars
As we have learned elsewhere in this issue, the world basically is coming to an end. There is hardly any reason to go on any longer, especially if you care deeply about Conde Nast, Omnicom and Double-Click. Our advice here at Ad Review is just to live suicidally on the edge, squeezing every last drop out of life, until the Nasdaq sinks below 2000.
Then do something really crazy " like eating European beef, or investing in a dot-com.
We'll miss you, God rest your soul.
The other option, of course, is to view the coming correction (or slowdown, or recession) as something less than apocalyptic and just kind of go with the flow, doing your best to adjust to what are euphemistically called "changing market conditions."
That may be like calling a tornado "an area of low pressure," but never mind that. You do what you have to do to survive. Or even prosper.
Two advertisers are out with campaigns attempting to do just that.
The first is the New York Stock Exchange, the so-called Big Board that in the heady days of the new economy suddenly was dwarfed by the high-tech jumbo board that is the Nasdaq. The NYSE lately has been a bit self-conscious about its image - namely, the image of teeming, overfed, Type-A white guys in blue smocks shouting and waving fists like an infatada photo op.
In contrast to the all-electronic Nasdaq exchange, the NYSE seemed so dated, so analog, so quaintly industrial. If Nasdaq is a clean room full of chip makers in space suits, the NYSE is a skyline of smokestacks spewing greenhouse gasses toward the ozone.
So here comes BBDO Worldwide, New York, with the image correction, depicting a futuristic, brave new New York Stock Exchange - sort of Blade Runner meets E-Trade. No smocks here, just lots of digital links and pretty women in tailored suits and many laptop-equipped minorities poring over data. And the companies capitalized there! Apparently not an industrial polluter among them. No, if we're to believe the images in this nearly wordless, techno "anthem," the NYSE is an oasis of cutting-edge technology, including the same space-suited folks we've long associated with the jumbo board.
In other words, BBDO has filmed the strategy: to make the NYSE seem more high-tech and more new economy. It's a bit literal and a bit strained, but - without ever even mentioning the competition - it certainly communicates the idea.
Only one problem: They unveiled the campaign at exactly the moment the new economy has begun to implode, and investors have started yearning nostalgically for the profitability and sulfur dioxide of the old economy. Oh, well. Market timing. Everybody knows it's impossible. 2 stars.
SAP, the German e-business software company, has caught the wave a little better. In a campaign titled (curiously enough) "The Party's Over" from Ogilvy & Mather, New York, SAP claims to have the systems to help your e-business achieve the old values the markets suddenly demand.
"The new new economy won't be like the old new economy," begins the voice-over in one spot, as a worker removes the dot-com logo from the glass doors of a recently vacated office space. "The new new economy will have new ideas - ideas like 'profitability.' With powerful e-business solutions, the new new economy will be about how you run your e-business, not just how well you promote it."
Okay, fair enough - although this campaign raises as many questions as it answers. For starters, for anyone who does not know what SAP is, there is absolutely no way to divine here what products or services it brings to bear on your business. Absolutely none - and the gobbledygook-filled Web site the ad directs you to isn't much more illuminating.
Secondly, we seem to remember SAP rather in the thick of the old new economy. The party may be over, but it's hell to get the news from the damn caterer. 2 1/2 stars.
Copyright December 2000, Crain Communications Inc.