Monday, February 07, 2005

Bad Ideas in Advertising

We have a new candidate for "Bad Ideas in Advertising". To extend the life and reach of their weak, "Lincoln Fry" Super Bowl commercial, McDonald's has put up a blog purporting it to be the real life postings of their script created "married couple" and discoverers of the Lincoln Fry.

It gets worse. The site does not allow commenting yet shows dozens of comments (real or fake?) Who knows. Smells like there is a whole lot of tom-foolery going on here.

There have always been a lot of tongue-in-cheek campaigns carried out in every medium, and there always will be. That said let me stand up for why I think this is just bad advertising.
  1. The blogsphere was created by real people looking for a simple, unadulterated means of thinking out loud and sharing with an audience beyond their front door. There are plenty of tongue-in-cheek blogs but until now, no one was misrepresenting themselves to achieve a financial gain (at least no one that I am aware of).
  2. It feels wrong. This is what the dog must feel like as he/she is running across the lawn only to discover that the stick being chased is still in the owners hand. Doh!!
  3. I am a marketer yet still believe not all marketing needs to be in-your-face to be successful. There are plenty of examples of businesses and firms using the blogsphere to truly enhance their eminence with out using the traditional advertising models they employ in other mediums.
Every profession has people within it that don't seem to understand what "boundaries" are. Seeing the commercial I understood the humor. Seeing the blog I feel like I'm being treated as a fool. If it had been a link from the McDonald's home page, the humor could've continued. Instead it is a stand alone blog representing itself to be what it is not.

This is a good lesson on how far is "too far" for all firms and companies. Each medium has it's purpose. If you choose to ignore the reason for the medium you choose to ignore good taste. And let the chips fall where they may.