The Golden Quarter

Posted on December 6th, by JCH in Blog Posts. No Comments

We are right in the middle of the most important marketing time of the year for retailers. So why is the advertising so dang dull? This should be the time to break through. Ads should be slashing through the clutter like a hot knife through gingerbread.

I just did a quick mental rundown of TV commercials I’ve seen this year that make me stop and say, “Wow! Wish I’d done that.”

This year, I’ve got nothing.

Car companies usually do something – I mean I kinda like the Chevrolet campaign with Santa’s day job as a car salesman. They are funny and the guy playing Nick the salesman is dead-on. But there’s something sad at its core about Father Christmas hawking pick-ups at the Chevy dealer. Acura has a different kind of spooky going on – Celebrities driving like maniacs. In these spots, celebs like Dr. Phil, Suze Orman and Santa (he’s an equal opportunity car guy – he also shills for Mercedes) kidnap unsuspecting shoppers and take them for a spin in an new Acura. But they drive like a Jason Stratham chase scene. I guess we’re trying to show a real world confident sports sedan, but it comes off as wonderful holiday panic of distracted driving meets road rage.

Through the years there have been some classic Christmas ads – Santa riding a Norleco shaver, Lexus started a big trend with the giant bow on the car as a conspicuous consumption gift and beer companies usually do nice things. The Bud Clydesdales in the snow are impressive. I always liked the Miller ad with the one horse sleigh to a class version of “I’ll be home for Christmas.” Some of these ads are 30 years old. I don’t see anything this season that deserves to be running next week much, less next decade.

I know how hard it is to create a breakthrough campaign, but retailers must demand this of their agencies at this time of year. The next year of survival might just depend on it working right now.

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