George Parker: the unvarnished (and newly bionic) solution for the ad business

So, I just spent four days in hospital being transformed into the Bionic Man. (Having a Pacemaker installed in my manly chest.) Everything went fine, although the picture in the attic is now at its final stage of magnificent putrefaction. A few drinks will fix that. They told me not to drink and drive… Hey, I’m with Ricky Gervais on this subject… I’ll just give up driving like the Duke of Edinburgh. I assume the old fucker is still drinking.

Remember the classic scene from “The Chistine Keeler Story,” when the mysterious naked masked server at a cocktail party instructed her and Mandy Rice-Davies to flick his todger with a peacock feather if they wanted a cocktail… Oh, well, that was before your time. Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, confined to a two thousand dollar a day hospital bed here in the US. Thank God unlike you communists in Britain, we don’t have socialized medicine and death panels. Bloody hell, get to the point… So, I was forced to watch hours of local and national TV and the associated ads. Everything sucked. I know it’s the same in Britain. Even though most Americans think UK TV is Downton Abbey and David Attenborough talking to lizards.

Sorry guys, in truth, it’s all about shit in the attic, badly baked cakes, and coming soon, the greatest insult ever done to the viewing public… The Eurovision Song Contest. This year’s final will take place in Tel Aviv (When did Israel become part of Europe?) Must be something to do with BREXIT. The big question this year is will it be won once again by a bearded lady? Apparently Britain is panicking because it does not yet have an entry. How about digging up Ena Sharples and have her at the piano in the Rovers Return?

OK, OK, I’ll finally get to the point… As I have mentioned ad nauseam , back in my Mad Man days, you could reach your target market through three TV networks, a handful of newspapers and periodicals, and for local focus, radio. Now, with the growth of social, digital and so-called targeted, data driven choices, you can hone in on exactly the people you want to influence to buy your clients products and services. Unfortunately, the opposite is happening.

Advertising is becoming less effective, whilst becoming more expensive. Look at the recent Super Bowl, this year’s “Gladiatorial” contest was recognized as the most boring game ever (Hey, it’s American football, so that takes some saying.) Whilst the vast majority of the TV spots were bland, boring, and had been featured on streaming video for weeks before the game… All this for a mere $5.3 million per 30 second spot. Droga5 worked the system out a few years ago with the campaign they did for Newcastle Brown Ale. It ran for weeks before the event, but never aired during the game, ‘cos, as they explained, they couldn’t afford it. The campaign also had one of the great taglines of all time. “Newcastle Brown Ale… No Bollocks.” Yes indeed. Those Ausies have a way with words. Gudonnya mate.

What’s the solution? Advertising is the world’s second oldest profession (No prizes for guessing the first.) So you would think by now we would have learned a thing or two. Problem is, we haven’t. We keep digging ourselves deeper and deeper in the hole of mediocrity. Whist turning my brain into mush watching TV in my hospital room, I grew tired of talking animals, smiling geriatrics climbing the north face of the Eiger thanks to the miracle exorbitant drug you should “ask your doctor about.”. Happy people having a major orgasm whilst driving cars that look like clones of all the other cars. Spots for cruise lines featuring giant ships that you know are crawling with e-coli, possibly even leprosy. And on and on.

So, to repeat myself, what’s the solution? Well, guess what? There isn’t one, it’s only going to get worse. Sorry I can’t be of more help, but to be honest, now I am bionic, I don’t give a fuck.

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About George Parker

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George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award. His blog is adscam.typepad.com, which is required reading for those looking for a gnarly view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, Confessions of a Mad Man, makes the TV show Mad Men look like Sesame Street.