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.
Now that every local blogger and even The New York Times has huffed and puffed about the smug, insensitive Virgin Mobile "You Rule" New York neighborhood ads (Murray Hill? No.), it's about time a smug, insensitive ad blogger blustered a bit.
Virgin Mobile's campaign—created by a North Carolina ad agency—has managed to piss off people in all five boroughs thanks to copy like this for Staten Island residents:
Thank you for being our down-to-earth, suburban, predominantly Italian-American cousins. To show our gratitude, we've got something for you. No, not baked ziti—cell phone plans without annual contracts...And this, for Bedford Stuyvesant inhabitants:
Do or Die is more than a moniker. It speaks to the fact that you don't take crap from anyone. Especially newcomers who want to change Bed-Stuy into some sort of yuppie strip mall.Also, remarkably, an ad in the campaign extolling Upper West Siders and making fun of the Upper East Side was mistakenly placed in UES locations.
So, yes the ads suck. But even if the Tar Heel copywriter had magically stumbled upon the perfect words that made every Gotham resident perfectly happy, the ads would still suck. Why? Replace Virgin Mobile's logo with a Nike, Chase, Bud, Gawker, Trump or T-Mobile logo and, besides a slight copy tweak, nothing would have to be changed. The campaign lacks anything that ties it inexorably to Virgin Mobile—it could be for anybody and about anything. 'You rule! Buy this ___ to rule more.'
I questioned a couple of ad acquaintances who had seen the ads. One remembered them being for Verizon and the other couldn't remember who they were for. If I had the time and if Gawker actually paid me, I think a larger sampling would be just as telling. Nobody remembers the product.
Thanks for reading. You rule, etc.
The soul of an artist? More like the breath of a dead artist.
Previously: Does Dry-Humping Sell Sunglasses?