Shame on you advertisers!

37034701 We've talked before about how the media hype is actually making the recession worse.  How our fear is paralyzing us from spending a buck or making a business decision that involves any sort of an investment.

As you'll recall, I said I thought it was up to the businesses of this country to ignore the doomsday talk and get out there and behave our way out of the recession.  We need to be smart but we need to grow our businesses just like we've always done.  By investing in good people, good products and good services.

So that's why I find some of the recent ads I've seen so alarming. 

An All State Insurance ad I just saw the other night started out like this (my paraphrasing):  "Today, the longest walk of the day is the walk to the mailbox…where all those bills are just waiting for you."

A local ad here from a company that sells pool tables and accessories has the owner on camera, talking about he's taken a beating during the recession…so he is being forced to sell his wares practically at cost, just to pay the wholesaler's note.

Come on! 

For a very small group of people, that's a true statement.  But when the media…and now the advertising constantly tells all of us that we should be dismal and dread our mail — we are just adding to the malaise of this country.  We're making it worse.

Does that mean you shouldn't talk about how your product or service is a good value?  Of course not.  But stop wrapping it up in the recession flag.  You should always be a good value, right?  Did your potential customers not care about that when the economy was booming?

If you don't care so much about how your marketing is impacting the economy…ponder this.  How many ads have you seen/heard/read in the last 30 days that referenced the recession or these tough economic times?  Just about all of them!  It's become the theme du jour, which means that your efforts sound a whole lot like everyone else's.

So whether you want to stand out or you want to be a part of the solution — for the love of Pete, stop or if you're one of the few who hasn't jumped on the bandwagon yet — don't start.

How can you (or are you already) marketing your product without using the recession as a crutch?

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13 comments on “Shame on you advertisers!

  1. Very good points Drew. Between advertisements and the media’s sensationalist agenda, things are given a much worse spin than they really are. I would think companies would want to distance themselves from any recession talk completely to try to provide more value to their customers during a time when purchases are more important and thought out.

  2. Justin Brady says:


    It really agitates me that these commercials are perpetuating the problem. You and I already talked about the automobile “if you lose your job” ads and our opinions.

    One great ad I saw yesterday was from AT&T. It was fantastic! It mentioned that “times were hard” but told the story of how America always fights back and comes back stronger. It took a negative circumstance and made me feel empowered at the end. Well done AT&T.

  3. Who is this “Pete” fella everyone always mentions and why are we are constantly asking for his love?

  4. Kate says:

    Although I agree the doomsday talk has a negative effect on the overall mentality of the consumer this is a pretty horrific downturn.

    I think Honda has run the best commercials yet, Kevin Spacey talks about how times have changed but then flips into saying nothing has changed at Honda.

  5. Pete,

    In a lot of ways, I think it’s just the quick and easy solution. You don’t have to think about your product or service — just use the toxic buzz word of the day and you’re all set.


  6. Justin,

    I saw that spot too and thought the same thing. rather than making us feel worse…they reminded us that we’ve been through tough times before and will get through this one too.

    It’s a way of taking the higher ground, in my opinion.


  7. Steve,

    Pete is quite the tragic figure, actually. You may have heard the story. Pete and his brother Repeat were in a boat. Poor Pete fell out. Who was left….


  8. Kate,

    No argument — times are tough. But, we can over focus on that. If for no other reason — you don’t want your ads to sound like everyone else’s.


  9. Stop it with the “Pete” jokes! 🙂

  10. Pete,

    I am pretty darned sure you’re used to it by now!


  11. Nikhil Jain says:

    I cant agree more with you on this!

    I’m also starting to see some companies (over)do the recession here in Australia – I think it’s really irresponsible & dips consumer confidence further. Companies should realise that dipping consumer confidence will ultimately only hurt their revenues :O(

  12. Nikhil,

    The other thing that is happening here in the States is that so many companies are using the recession crutch in their advertising — that it all starts to sound the same.

    So rather than differentiating themselves and their message — the new ones on the bandwagon just look like “me too” advertisements.


  13. So are you a Nationals fan or just a baseball fan? It’s a beautiful stadium. I can understand why you’re there a lot!

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