There once was a credo known as “the product is the star” in television land.
Then, came the Geico Gecko. The Aflac Duck. Speedy Alka-Seltzer. The Energizer Bunny. You get the drift. The “brand as star” era.
Now, we seem to have entered another epoch entirely.
The spokesperson as idiot. Here are my three least favorites.
The Liberty Mutual buffoon-with-emu-sidekick.
The UPS boring-you-to-death advocate.
The irritating-beyond-belief National Car Rental narcissist.
Let’s call it the Age of Disdain.
What can these brands be thinking?
That we are so cynical, so jaundiced, so furious that we can only pay attention to brands we can make fun of? Brand as other? We will remember those brands which help us document our superiority?
The customers showcased in Liberty’s campaign already know and use Liberty. The hapless emu guy’s effort to convince is inane.
The customers in the UPS spots get up and leave rather than listen to the numbing list of things they might ask the brand to do. Their exit mimics ours, if we were not on a recumbent bike at the gym (last bastion of commercial television).
The weird guy extolling the virtues of National has towels in his shower reading “mine” and “mine,” along with a framed photo of himself. Aren’t we tempted to not only avoid the lines at National, but dodge the brand itself and head for Hertz, rather than share his self-obsessed worldview? Do we need one more role model showing us how to avoid human interaction?
Perhaps it’s time to read David Brooks’ new book and re-imagine the moral purpose of lives spent in marketing?