Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Genius of Advertising Copywriting

By Nicholas Stix

“We don’t just manage money. We manage people’s money.”

That’s an online ad tagline. I don’t know which company it’s for, because I never hang around long enough to find out.

This is the sort of imbecility that, if you gave it any thought, would have you wanting to either shoot yourself in the eye, or shoot the copywriter in the eye.

(Why in the eye? We recently watched The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II.)

TV commercials have two components: Sight and sound, with images and music jockeying for dominance. To the degree that commercials are reducible to non-verbal images and music, many are striking. However, commercials also usually involve words, whether as images on the screen, or sounds uttered by a spokesman. And here is where things go wrong.

How often do you hear a commercial pitchman mouth anything but the sappiest platitudes?

That talented wordsmiths are scarce, I have long taken as a given. And yet, ad agencies are supposedly chock full of highly educated, clever, verbal people.

Maybe not. Advertising is part of the media, arguably the most pc of institutions. The media are engaged in a war on wit.

In some respects, pc in the ad world is even worse than pc in newsrooms, because newsrooms are largely virtual these days. People file stories without coming into the office, where they can accidentally drop their guard, and make a death penalty-eligible observation, whereas in advertising, people have to get together in the same room to spitball their brilliant ideas.

The tagline at the top only makes sense to me as a response to the braindead communist—if you’ll pardon the redundancy—slogan, “People before profits.”

Perhaps in the social world of ad copywriters, “People before profits” makes sense.

I guess the financial institution in question can brag about its intellectual coup, in reaching the braindead communist market share.


Anonymous said...

Have you folks ever heard the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program called "Under the Influence with Terry O'Reilly" on American public radio? It's a fascinating half-hour discourse on the various aspects of advertising every week.

Nicholas said...

Never heard of it before. Thanks for the heads-up.