IdeaConference

CREATIVITY's HALL OF FIB

Published on .

Ben & Jerry's

James B. Twitchell, Creativity columnist and author of Twenty Ads that Shook the World.

"They are forever yammering about Peace Pops, dioxin-free this and that (not the ice cream, incidentally, but the packaging), loving the environment (but producing huge amounts of solid waste), avoiding milk from cows pumped-up with growth hormones, and you know the rest of this tie-dyed righteousness. What they wisely neglect, as they struggle to own the moral high road, is that their product is made of what? Cream and sugar. Help me out here: Is this stuff supposed to be good for you?"

Paul Kemp Robertson, Director of Creative Resources, Worldwide, Leo Burnett, Chicago

Wrangler jeans

"In a ludicrous positioning trick, impressionable little Brits were led to believe that Wrangler jeans were worn by ultra-cool, African-American pirate DJs in South Central L.A. A bigger pile of bullshit than you'd ever find at any rodeo. Yeehah, daddyo. The guys at Levi's Europe must have pissed themselves laughing."

Cabell Harris, President and CD, Work Inc., Richmond, Va.

Dodge cars and trucks

" `Different?' Different it ain't. How in the world do you say your product is different when your advertising immediately brings to mind the Apple `Think Different' campaign? Have you heard the saying, `Creativity is taking something old and doing it in a new way?' Old is the important word here."

Kalle Lasn, Editor of Adbusters magazine and author of Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America

General Motors et al

"I hate the global automakers. The personal automobile is arguably the most destructive product we humans have ever produced, but year after year these industries spend over $50 billion worldwide telling us how cool and sexy it is. I hate the way these industries sidestep the issues of global warming and climate change and deliberately obfuscate with lyrical campaigns that sell the preposterous idea that their products are friendly to nature."

Bill Oberlander, Executive CD, Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners:

Discover Brokerage and their ilk

"I am really unnerved at how online investing is being portrayed as the route to easy money. With Wall Street so bullish and Silicon Valley growing so wildly, companies like E-trade, Ameritrade and Discover Brokerage are depicting Internet stock trading as a surefire way to vast riches. Of course, I love the commercials. They're hysterical. Very creative, no doubt. But they're also highly misleading and irresponsible."

Paul Lavoie, President and CD, Taxi advertising, Toronto

Burger King et al

"Advertising aimed at young children has to be the most manipulative of all. It comes in many unsuspecting forms. One example (unfortunately, there are many) has been the way fast food chains lure children to their restaurants with enticing gift items. Can you imagine if your local pub offered a really nice pair of shoes with every visit?"

Jack Supple, President and CD, Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis

Xenical

"I am awestruck by the Xenical weight loss stuff. Compared to this, Saturday Night Live writers are hacks. Xenical charms with the promise of weight loss and then snaps into this Tourette's syndrome disclaimer about "oily spotting, gas with discharge and inability to control bowel movements." I am proud to live in the Xenical age. Now everyone can lose weight by crapping their pants."

Warren Berger, industry reporter and author of the upcoming book Advertising Today

Nortel

"Web networking companies like Nortel, Qwest and Cisco Systems are all perpetuating one of advertising's big myths of the moment -- that the Internet can solve all problems great and small. Example: The sappy Nortel campaign that asks, "What do you want the Internet to do?" The answers, spouted by earnest ethnic kids and oldtimers, include fostering world peace and ending racism. I'd settle for just ending porn-spam."

Steve Bassett, Chief Creative Officer, DDB/Dallas

Priceline and others

"As a general rule, the more excited, sincere or unnaturally knowledgeable a person on TV is about a product, the more obvious it is that he or she is lying. I won't name names. But Tom Bosley, Suzanne Somers and William Shatner, you know who you are."Bob Garfield, Advertising Age columnist

Tylenol Allergy & Sinus

"Menstruation. Diarrhea. Yeast infections. It's easy to loathe orifice-intensive advertising. But the true villains are the entire over-the-counter universe, where marketers routinely lie and distort to imply uniqueness. The worst: Tylenol Allergy & Sinus formula, which actually uses shameless half-truths to badmouth a revolutionary class of prescription antihistamines. It is advertising at its scummiest."

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