94 years ago, liar H.K. McCann launched his NYC ad agency with the slogan "Truth Well Told." That was a big fat lie. Advertising copywriter Copyranter brings you instances of advertising lies and the lying liars who sell them.
Bob Garfield has been the television commercial reviewer at AdAge for over 20 years. I've been reading his column since I was eagerly putting together my portfolio of fake ads at The School of Visual Arts. He also co-hosts the NPR show "On The Media" with Brooke Gladstone. Most media professionals consider him the world's preeminent "ad critic." In 2003, He published an ad guide book titled And Now A Few Words From Me. (Get it? He replaced "our sponsor" with "me."). But seriously, I think he is a very smart man. I also think he is as full of shit as any of the Creative Knights of the Roundtable.
But wait! I happen to agree with many of Mr. Garfield's beliefs. Ad creative directors are too obsessed with industry awards shows and "rule breaking," and not nearly concerned enough with, you know, the actual consumer benefits of the clients' products.
My problem with Mr. Garfield is with what he actually does for money: "critiquing" ads and then giving them zero to four stars...what a bunch of hooey! And, he's the world's leading, undisputed, "most feared" (according to his icitizen profile) ad critic!
Mr. Garfield, that's some fine snake oil you sell.
According to the Publishers Weekly review of his book, Mr. Garfield says that out of the well in excess of a thousand ads that have been "subjected to my pitiless scrutiny, I've really blown the call only eleven or twelve times" WHAT?!? How'd you arrive at that number? Counting the bumps inside your Sigmoid colon? And please do tell what proprietary matrix you use to determine the accuracy of your reviews. The product's sales went up? (Yeah, that's proof that ads work. Pffft.) The company ran the campaign for a second year? What? WHAT?!?
"My goal here isn't to leave you a bit infuriated," says Mr. Garfield on his book jacket. "My goal is to enumerate transgressions so extravagant and insane that you actually bleed through the ears."
Face it, Mr. Garfield: you're a wannabe ad guy.
Well, this is your big chance. Let's partially switch jobs for a week: I'll write your "ad review" column, and you'll come up with a couple of web video ideas for one of our clients—just key frames, not complete storyboards, I'll present my column to you, and you'll present your concepts to me.
Also, let's arm wrestle. It's kind of a feature writer tradition here at Gawker.
Previously: Trend School at Soho House