Feb 1, 2011

Think invasive advertising couldn't get worse? Urine for a surprise!

I've always considered myself to be a hard sell. I like to think that advertising doesn't work so well on me. In fact, I usually look at the campaigns I work on from this perspective, constantly asking, "why the hell should anyone care about this?" I find it helps me to step back and think just a bit harder about the concept we're proposing.

See, I think a lifetime is the most precious thing we've got... because it's 100% limited, and that's what advertising does. It asks for your attention, and your time... your finite resources. Once you've given those away, the sender hopes you'll retain the information, or act on it.

Don't get me wrong. I still strongly think that advertising can be a good thing. It can inform us about things that could better our lives. It can motivate us to change. It can entertain us. It can encourage us to act. Advertising drives the pulling and hauling of our society, and without it our economy would come to a screeching halt, becoming fully dependent on word-of-mouth marketing (I feel like I'm selling myself here).

Still, more often that not, advertising is an invasion of our privacy, a cluttering of the landscape, reminding us to dig deep into our pockets and spend our earnings on a service, or thing. That's the way things work, and I can live with it, for the most part. In fact, this is the same message I give my clients. It is what it is and if you can't generate a successful word-of-mouth business, then you need advertising to get your message out to the public.

Every now and then a new form of advertising comes along that just grates on me, reminding me of everything that I loathe about our industry, hence these new restroom mirror displays. As if advertising's worst wasn't invasive enough, we are now destined to be exposed to more of in the worst place imaginable.

Meet the restroom mirror digital display.

Look, mens' restrooms aren't places that I tend to linger, and I think most men feel the same way. Public restrooms are usually pretty filthy, disgusting places, with the fine odor of mint and human waste floating like a cloud. I get in, wash up, and try to get out using elbows and knees, taking as few breaths as humanly possible.

News flash! These displays won't work on me... at all.

I think that really good advertising plays on all of the human senses, leaving subtle triggers in the human mind. This is basic psychology. You see, smell, touch, or hear something enough times in relationship to a message then you will eventually begin to retain and recall that information.

Simple stuff. Branding 101.

I guess my question is do you want your brand associated with the your service and message, or restimulating the fine scent of fresh pee and urinal cakes?

Hey... I think I just found my next sales pitch. -Oran

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