MINDLESS MARKETING; FOR GOD, COUNTRY AND NEWT

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Contest #460: Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Forget everything you learned in school, forget anything your parents taught you about manners: Stupidity and asinine behavior are both in. How else do you explain the rubbery Jim Carrey's ascendancy to Clown Prince of Hollywood status with flicks like "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and "Dumb and Dumber"? Or ABC's entire Friday night line-up? Or David Letterman? It's only a matter of time before the Duh Bug infects the ad industry. Put on those dunce caps, T.N.T.ers: come up with the next completely mindless ad campaign that exudes utter stupidity.

And now for the results of Contest #456: we asked you for a personality makeover for abrasive Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich:

First Prize: Taking a cue from the world of rock, Mr. Gingrich becomes "The Politician Formerly Known as Newt." Shadowed constantly by ever-present, voluptuous bodyguards named Avarice and Deal-A-Meal, he markets himself to the kids through a controversial anti-Clinton single, "Booger Walls." Jack Huber, proofreader, Kingswood Advertising, Ardmore, Pa.

Second Prize: People will respect Newt better as "Crocodile" Gingrich, an uncommon hero fighting for the common man. In a new feature film, Croc, armed with only a razor-sharp tongue, annihilates the competition, a legion of evil illegal immigrants brandishing Chinese-made assault rifles and welfare checks. Of course, Gingrich donates the film's gross to Boys' Town. Brad Grau, assistant product manager, Sun Gro Horticulture, Bellevue, Wash.

Third Prize: Borrowing from Ronald Reagan and a dependable mechanic commercial, Newt becomes "Knute Goodwrench," promoting his new blue-collar-friendly image by frequenting Nascar races, hockey games and Notre Dame football games, wearing his Mr. Goodwrench baseball cap and promising to fix America and get her running smooth again. Norris Bohn, creative director, Bohn Adventures, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Entries for Contest #460 must be sent by March 6. Send entries to T.N.T. Contest #460, Advertising Age, 6500 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2300, Los Angeles, Calif. 90048, or fax them to (213) 655-8157. Please include, legibly, your name, title, company, address and daytime phone number on the sheet with your entry. Users of the online Prodigy service can file T.N.T. entries to Ad Age through the Prodigy Bulletin Board. Top three winners win T.N.T.-shirts. Entries become property of Ad Age and cannot be returned.

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