Stupid Client Tricks (cont.)

“Can advertising be good when everything else is so bad?” D’Arcy’s Lee Garfinkel posed that loaded question last week at Adweek’s 28th Annual Creative Conference in Las Vegas. “The overall dumbing down of the media has brought advertising down with it,” he said.

What’s really low, it seems, are some client IQs. Garfinkel shared feedback he’s gotten from clients and prospects over the years, and there were some doozies. “At what price range does humor stop working?” asked a Subaru exec. “Sure, VW can afford to be funny. They’re cheap cars. We’re selling a quality product here,” said an exec from Matchbox Cars. From Prudential: “Look, we’re not a fun company. We’re a pretty boring company. Shouldn’t our advertising reflect who we are?” Other chestnuts came from Comedy Central (“Your advertising is too funny”), Polaner Garlic (“If the product benefits are communicated in an enter taining manner, will it get in the way of the product?”), Häagen-Dazs (“I’m not sure if you’re taking the product seriously enough. This is ice cream, after all”) and Six Flags (“This campaign may be too exciting”).

Garfinkel laughed along with the audience, but said agencies share the blame. “We’ve caused part of the problem by doing it wrong so often,” he said. He urged his audience to hold themselves to a higher standard than today’s media “mediocrity,” advertising included, adding, “My bench mark is Citizen Kane.”