Good Silly vs. Bad Silly

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.

The reason why most ad copywriters and art directors get in this business is that it allows us chances to think up ridiculously silly scenarios to sell products. I once got to work with a monkey to sell a pen. Thanks to online video, silliness in advertising is on the rise. That's great. But some of the silly is silly for silly's sake. And that's really painful.

Below is a new spot for Skittles. It is good silly.

It is good silly because, despite its unbelievable premise, it somehow has a feeling of truth to it. The casting of Tim has a lot to do with that. We're sold that he really has this affliction. And it sells Skittles, without "selling" Skittles. It leaves me wanting Skittles. Lots of them, and I don't even eat much candy. Mmm, Skittles.

It also reminds me of a candy campaign that didn't work. A few years ago, Snickers transparently tried to become more of an "adult" product by telling me to eat a candy bar at work at 3 p.m. for a pick-me-up. Now, I haven't reviewed any recent data on surges in adult candy-eating, but those kind of strategy statement TV spots usually don't cut it with consumers.

Now, here's a new two-minute "viral" video for Ray-Bans.

Much like a previous Ray-Ban dry-humping video, it's simply a stunt—and not a very good one. It gets stale quick. The "creatives" behind these videos (the agency is Cutwater in San Francisco) apparently think they are "artists," not salespeople. They would argue that it's a short film, man. It's viral, it doesn't have to sell product, dude. It even has that oh-so-hip scratching turntables music, to appeal to the kids! Terrible. This attitude behind the ads is bullshit. All agency creatives are salespeople and every thing they create is a sale tool. This video doesn't sell Ray-Ban sunglasses, no matter how many "views" it gets. It sells silliness.

Previously: Let Go Of My Lego!