People who make up Inane Marketing Campaigns Deserve to Die

I really mean it. Thus “slowly revealed over a period of weeks” billboard campaigns drive me nuts.

I’d give you examples, only I can’t think of any

The stupid Segway, the “It” machine, touted everywhere, including billboards here and there, as the greatest invention evah! And it would change the world! Crickets.

Apple does it every year with its secrecy shtick.

From a business perspective Apple’s is accidental genius. The secrecy shtick was because Steve liked to present completed products and to have the ability to release when he wanted to. He didn’t want the public to know anything about the products that he didn’t tell them. The media turned that into such a huge guessing game that they now get marketing for free. They can’t control it is the downside.


Apple fosters it, including launching at least one lawsuit to gag a website and planting help-us-hang-the-blabbermouth stories on Mac-centric sites and in the news media (such as it is).

Apple controls most, if not all, of it.

Can I be the first to line Geico’s ad managers up against the wall? [And yes the gecko too]

This crappy campaign gets dredged up every June. All of a sudden, you realize how much fun you could be missing, unless you buy a new Toyota.
Oh-and “better act now”-otherwise you’ll miss out on the discounted prices (that were bumped up BEFORE the “sale celebration”).
At least they don’t have hamsters driving the cars.


Don’t you just wonder how Geico can claim to have lower rates than everyone else when they seem to be spending 20 gazillion dollars on advertising? They even have airplanes towing banners overhead during rush hour around here.

Of course, State Farm, Allstate, and Progressive seem to be spending about the same amount.

Not too long ago - maybe a few months? Florida had all sort of “Hello, Friend.” (with a little smiley mouth under part of it) billboards and ads, with no explanation as to what it was about. The cable/phone company then revealed they were actually your FRIEND, not just a service provider. Hello! We are Friends! Give me $89.99/month, Friend!

They reminded me of AT&T’s “MLife” campaign 12-ish years ago (I’m guessing at the timeframe because this is one of the first things I remember googling) which was somehow going to be the next big huge amazing thing having to do with cell phones. There were TV ads nonstop with cute hipsters talking about how someone’s life awesomeness was due to their awesome “MLife.” I remember a ‘reveal’ about what MLife was, then… nothing. Apparently the ad campaign was far more successful than whatever product or service they rolled out.

Back in the 50’s (or maybe the early 60’s) we started seeing newspaper and magazine ads saying “X days until Wisk day!” The countdown had us riveted. What could this be?

What can I say. I live in Iowa. We’re easily entertained.

The first “viral” campaign I remember was for the first Independence Day movie with stark taglines like “Tomorow has been canceled” and on the subway platform “Warning - Your next stop may not be there”

Also in the sixties: a commercial that asked “Where is Horace Wink?” As a kid, I heard the thing for weeks. It wasn’t until I thought to ask about it here that I learned it was the setup for a later commercial for the Ford Mustang. Ether I never saw that one or it didn’t leave as much of an impression.

He’ll tell us what to do!

Dang, I was gonna be first with this! I think that gecko IS the ad manager!

[sub]So, proposed rule: Ad managers should never be allowed to design ad campaigns starring themselves.[/sub]

Captain Morgan rum had the same sort of campaign a few decades ago. I think they showed the outline of the figure on a billboard, and the words, “The Captain is coming!” or something like that, with a slow reveal and other teases.

It kept me riveted then, but now, I wouldn’t pay it any more attention than I do the top 40 Billboard hits (which is to say, none).