Blessed be AdFreak for delivering onto us knowledge of the saddest ad campaign of the year. You’d think, being as we’re only in February, that there would still be plenty of time to come up with something worse. Heck, maybe Saatchi will turn “Pieces of Her” into an episodic infomercial! But no, not even that would shake “Magazines: Ideas That Live Beyond the Page” from its mighty pillar. According to today’s press release, the campaign, which begins on the 27th, will run in magazines, primarily industry trades and member-issues of “real” publications, features what looks like a normal ad torn out and underneath a message explaining why the ad was removed (“Maybe someone just saw the latest installment of their favorite brand’s ongoing campaign!”).
First and foremost, the concept and accompanying copy is not grounded in reality. Who is tearing out ads to show things to people? We have something called “the internet” where we can see this thing we love so much in moveable hi-tech 3D, download mp3s recorded by Third Eye Blind declaring how great it is, and, play a Shockwave game that involves the product in name-only. We are not tearing things out. Second is the design itself. If, for some reason, we are tearing things out of magazines, we aren’t doing it like crazed lunatics who are in such a hurry that they only take 3/4 of the page with them. In the case of the Infiniti example, completely missing the logo in their insane tearing, thus negating some of the point of the supposed action. And third, and here’s where the sad kicks in, when you’re having to advertise your own worthiness, you know you’ve got trouble. If you’re calling yourself “the original viral medium,” you’re doing so while the person making your tombstone is working in the cubicle next door.
This is not to say we’re anti-magazines. Certainly not. This just doesn’t feel like the best answer to the beating you’ve been receiving that Jon Stewart recently gave face to. If anything, seems like it has the exact opposite effect.