This Is a Plea to Let Advertisements Be Bad
Are these copywriters thought leaders? Lol no. You wish.
Have they done enough research? Idk. Ben was kinda reading an article on his IG feed.
Are they social experts? Pragya hasn’t read a newspaper in 4 years.
Industry shapers? Ben hasn’t updated his LinkedIn profile since he landed this job.
Uhm. So why should you continue reading?
Because what Pragya and Ben have is countless hours of writing, rewriting and rewriting (please consider feedback) for industry leading, modern, 21st century brands. And they’re bad at keeping secrets.
They are here to let you in on a secret. So read closely.
Brands may seem like confident giants from the outside, but they are basically really nervous, confused giants trying not to offend someone ALL the time. And they are only getting more nervous.
Brands essentially want people to like them. And remember them. That’s their main objective. Positive top of mind recall. That’s literally their only purpose.
So when you don’t like a brand it’s basically because it’s not doing a good marketing job to engage with you as a user. Or you’re not the user.
In most cases, to make you like them, brands try to be relatable, agreeable, inspiring, uplifting. Textbook.
For example, coolness has become an intrinsic trait all brands have blindly humanised. Yes, being cool on the internet. You know that.
Sometimes they even break the playbook to be disagreeable. But only because you secretly like that too. (Kinky huh?)
But sometimes you might not agree with them. Sometimes you may think they are wrong. What they are showing is wrong. In fact, it may even clash with your beliefs. How dare they, right?
You might even feel a little hurt and let down by their advertisements.
Now when an advertisement fails to resonate with you, let alone make you upset, it’s a bad advertisement. Yes, that’s the official definition. We made it.
What happens when you make bad advertisements?
Your audience ignores it. They may hate it. You wasted marketing money. Even sales may dip for a while. Bad day. Ben and Pragya are sad. They are reminiscing over those sleepless nights fine tuning the script.
And that’s okay. Ben and Pragya try again. (Sisyphus feels are coming.)
But in today’s world, what happens when you make a bad advertisement:
Your audience hates it. They abuse you. They troll you. Wait, we heard a mob outside. Why are there threats in our inbox? Ben and Pragya are now running to save lives.
Unfortunately, the social barometer for a ‘bad’ advertisement is whether you’re trending on Twitter with the hashtag #Boycott <insert company name>
Now that’s not okay.
This is not just about being progressive. This is about the cost of making something people don’t agree with. And that cost cannot be the lives and mental well-being of humans.
In a world where it’s impossible to find something everybody agrees with, the cost for disagreeing is becoming higher and higher.
Sadly nowadays, disagreeing is considered synonymous to being offended. But they aren’t synonyms. CHECK THE DICTIONARY PLEASE.
So when you disagree with an ad, you are not offended by it.
And you don’t have to be offended. That’s so much work. You not liking it is enough. You not engaging with it and not relating to it is enough.
(Press F to pay respects to the brand manager)
If in 2020, somebody made an ad showing floppy disks it would just be stupid and unrelatable. I might even call them out on it.
But am I going to threaten them because they offended everyone who worked towards creating the cloud, USB, hard drives etc.
No. If it’s stupid, let it be. Let it be a bad ad. Let Pragya and Ben get one from their bosses. Nobody is going to relate to it anyway. It’s failed already.
And if someone DOES find it relatable, inclusive and inspiring. It’s not because of the ad. It’s because that change/sentiment was already there in that individual/ community. You cannot blame the ad, Ben or Pragya.
You can only blame time. Times change. #BoycottTime.
Advertisements always reflect society. Sometimes before time. Sometimes too late after. Sometimes when society is not even ready for it. They don’t even know they want it.
But they will, one day.
Till then, let the bad ads be.