The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Ad Arrogance …
May 22, 2007, 7:10 am
Filed under: Comment

OK … so I am a little tetchy today because of Forest’s pathetic performance last Friday … and yes, maybe I should take my advice of a few posts ago and go and do some infectious acts of kindness [especially as I now seem to have a ‘reputation’ of being grumpy – click here then scroll down to A[P]SOTW] … but I saw this ad for Jeep in a US magazine and it has made my blood boil.


I hate almost everything to do with this ad, and I include the cars name – The Jeep Patriot.

Patriot? Do you not think the customer can see through your thinly veiled attempt to tap into the ‘All American’ spirit?

Why not go the whole hog and call it the ‘Jeep Freedom Fighter’ or maybe the ‘Anti-Arab’.

This is almost as bad as the perfume companies who call their fragrances ‘Beautiful’ or ‘Adore’ … for fucks sake, get a grip … mind you, it’s still better than the Ford Motor Companies obsession with naming their cars after cheap porn mags and/or sexual instruments.

Fiesta … Escort … Probe … surely it is only a matter of time before they launch the Ford Penetrate!

Anyway, those things aren’t to do with the ads – that’s the fault of the Jeep brand owners – what I am pissed off about is the bloody ad.

Now I know you probably can’t see it very clearly – but the basic premise is that the car is surrounded by numerous dot-to-dot patterns that – if you spend 9 hours doing the bloody thing – reveals an ‘adventure’ you could go on if you owned a Jeep Patriot.

Apart from the fact there are so many dots it would take even the most eager of children, ages to do … the fact of the matter is that the people who this ad is aimed at – MEN – are hardly known as being the most patient of genders, so to expect them to sit there for bloody ages doing a bloody dot-to-dot picture which is PART OF AN AD in a magazine they bought because it has articles in it THEY ACTUALLY WANT TO SPEND THEIR TIME READING – is both the height of advertising arrogance and a great example of misunderstanding the male species.

Like brands that try desperately to make their advertising phrase enter the vernacular … there seems to be an unhealthy desire to make print ads ‘interactive’ – which is why we often see overused [and annoying] ad concepts like the classic ‘FOLD BOTH SIDES OF THIS AD TOGETHER TO MAKE A “HILARIOUS” NEW PICTURE’ and bloody dot-to-dot concepts.

Do they really think people have the time and inclination to do this sort of thing?  

Don’t they realise that the people who DO do this sort of thing are generally the sort of people you wouldn’t want buying your brand in a million years?

If you are going to do this sort-of thing, it HAS to be part of the overall brand idea otherwise it just comes across as tired and too be honest, a waste of time and money.

I remember years ago we had a great concept for SMARTIES as part of their ‘Brainbuster’ campaign.  Basically it involved developing a Smarties ‘Magic Eye’ where if you looked at it correctly, you would see a phone number which once you rang, would award you a BRAINBuster prize.

Only problem was the client COULDN’T read magic eyes and was so convinced we’d written something nasty about her brand [because we’re likely to fuck off our paying clients] she binned the idea. ARGH!

Seriously, the arrogance and ignorance of people in adland gets right on my tits … we’re supposed to charm, enchant, excite, enthuse and interest the consumer … which means KNOWING WHAT THE FUCK ACTUALLY CHARMS, ENCHANTS, EXCITES, ENTHUSES AND INTERESTS the consumer … not make it up based on what we like, what we want to say and what we think is important.

Planning [as well as all other disciplines] is supposed to be about understanding, relating, inspiring and motivating people – not justifying/massaging the egos of the client/creative – so the sooner we get back to what we’re bloody great at, the sooner Jeep won’t make ads that piss me – and probably millions of others – off!

Hmmmn, I am tetchy aren’t I! Blame Forest!

57 Comments so far
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good morning grumpy bum! can i join you in petulance?

(and to all the advertising school kids – please take note of the following point:

“Do you not think the customer can see through your thinly veiled attempt to tap into the ‘All American’ spirit?”

can i suggest that the same would probably apply to the Hummer. And if it doesn’t, it bloody well should.)

i know you know this rob, but i fucking hate 4x4s and their ads/campaigns. 99% of the time they’re like shooting fish in a fucking barrel – encourage the most basic male neanderthal response of divide, conquer and have a toss about it, and you sell a brazillian of them. completely disregard any concern for fellow human beings, intelligent thought or environmental impact and you get a fucking gold medal.

Comment by lauren

This is vintage Rob Campbell and I like it… a lot.

Hi Lauren, hope you’re well!

Comment by Age

hey age!! alive and kicking – in case you couldn’t tell from the previous comment.. ha! same to you mate! i’ll email ya soon with a london update..i’m off to watch the rest of scrubs, then to bed. interview tomorrow.

Comment by lauren

Good luck!

Comment by Age

Er, compared to what I saw in the last commercial break this looks at least like an attempt to try something apart from showing the car at the sea / on a mountain / in the desert / driving through a river / in the city jungle combined with a very stupid headline that at least covers four different unique selling whatsoevers and is approved by the clients controlling, buying and legal department. To be really honest the last commercial break made me doubt what I am doing all day. This was so absofuckinglutely biggest and worst nightmare I have ever seen. Only ONE good commercial in a line of 20. Well done, NIKE. And you other 19 (hello, P&G, NIVEA, L’Oreal, KIA, Nestlé, Danone, Masterfoods…) please stop thinking that only fools or braindead idiots watch your commercials (otherwise they would be better). Grrr..angry.
I hate this advertising where client and agency show the most horrible and boring bullshit in the universe, saying “but it works!” We have a responsibility. Not only for our clients but for the consumer as well. And if it’s only the responsibility to not bore them to death, then this is 500% more than a lot of ad tossers worldwide are presenting right now.
(This does not include great agencies such as Wieden+Kennedy, Crispin, Porter+Bogusky, Mother, 180° and cynic…)

And to finish this rant here is some nice quotation from the UK’s “The Apprentice”, week 8. I think the guy who said that crap is would say he’s a Marketing Expert with in-depth-knowledge in culture-blah-blah.

“I build brands for a livin’…” and later while talking to some rapping school boy … “when you’re talking about high street fashion and corporate branding and rip off prices…say it like you feel it.”

Ah, just see (4:50):

And (from 7:10, it’s hilarious):

Please say that all these people are actors…

Comment by Seb

😳 😉 😆 😀 🙂 🙄 :mrgreen: … enough?

Comment by Seb

copy by forrest gump, art direction by stevie wonder, planning by george w bush. what fucking shite especially as it is an ad about exploration and discovery and features the most cliche bollocks ive seen in a while. good luck with the job lauren, swear a lot and it should be yours. good post rob, youre back.

Comment by andy@cynic

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 …that’s for andy’s post.

Comment by Seb

Thank you Seb for being so mindful of Andy’s bad language and Age, I am glad being a grumpy, opinionated shit is ‘vintage campbell’ [though I shouldn’t be surprised given this blog IS called the ‘Musings Of An Opinionated Sod’, ha]

Lauren – we obviously share the same issues with this Jeep ad but one word of caution as regards the environmental issue … as much as it is VERY important, to the people who generally buy these sort of cars [bar those who actually do use them for a rural pursuit/role] the environment has less relevance to them than other people [or they can justify why interms of cars, they need not be so concious], so whilst I encourage anyone to find a way to answer the Hummer brief with an environmental solution, the reality is that you will be evaluated on INCREASING SALES PROBABILITY, not just helping the Earth.

Harsh – but that’s life and there are ways to do it, you just have to understand society to realise how best to do it.

That’s why planning and communication is so great and exciting … making things fit and work against the odds or the actions of the competitor.

Have fun …

Comment by Rob

I’m having fun thinking about the Hummer thing, and I’m hoping I get time to write and set it all up, my boss is being an absolute fuckstick at the moment.

Comment by Age

All bosses are fucksticks Age – ask Fred and Hari, ha!

Comment by Rob

I’m with Lauren on this one. The Hummer is for arseholes. so here’s a positioning that reconciles it’s target audience in an environmentally (and geo politically) responsible manner.

Hummer. Best left in the driveway on show. So your neighbours will think you’re awesome (even though you’re an arsehole)

Remember: America is not at war, the marine corp are at war. America is at the mall!

Comment by Charles Frith

Hello Charles …

Of course the Hummer is for arseholes but that doesn’t mean the people doing the assignment can just walk away and say it betrays their principals, ha!

Well they can, but personally I always find these sorts of briefs the most interesting / challenging to overcome.

The secret is finding a way that still achieves the client business goals whilst not making you feel ill for what you have done.

I appreciate its hard but it can be done – hell, we did/do work for both NASA and the British Military of Defence [hardly the bastions of humanity] and we feel genuinely great about what we developed for them because it not only solved their ‘business issues’, but did it in a way that benefited society rather than hindered it [which I could tell you but would be contravining the Official Secrets Act and no, I am not joking, ha!]

The reason I chose Hummer WAS because of the issues you and Lauren raised – which is why I am hoping it will lead to more interesting, imaginative and culturally insight driven solutions. That’s the theory anyway, ha!

Oh and I love “America Is Not At War, The Marine Corp Are At War. America Is At The Mall!” … that has to be a bumper sticker soon!

Comment by Rob

Marketing Director: OK people, time to sell „The Patriot“

ALL: “Yeah, YAY! Woah!”

Marketing Director: So I have had my cousin Bob come in to given us some REAL insight

Cousin Bob: Hi People

ALL: Hi Cousin Bob!

Cousin Bob: Now, as you may know I run the local day care centre, I studied nursing and I read a lot. I’ve been having in depth conversations with my staff and some carefully selected parents and we’ve come to the conclusion that the Patriot should be a thinking PERSON’S 4×4.

AGENCY: I’m feeling this. I really am feeling this cousin Bob.

Cousin Bob: So here’s the deal. All of our ad’s have gotta have something… TO DO on them

AGENCY: Interactive Print Ad’s!

Marketing Director: Ad’s 2.0!

Cousin Bob: Damn straight. Dot to dot is the future. And to make sure that we appeal to both men and women there should be blue and pink dots!

ALL: “Yeah, YAY! Woah!”

Marketing Director: Hang on! Slow down people! Bob, there will be a shot of the Jeep right?

Cousin Bob: Damn straight!

ALL: “Yeah, YAY! Woah!”

German Printer: You are all quite clearly fucking insane and I hate you all from the bottom of my heart.

Marketing Director: [whispers to Cousin Bob] Fucking Europeans.

Comment by Marcus

Its an interesting idea, but its clearly not one that people are going to do; especially not those Jeep are targeting.

Too many clients dont understand their customers. Too many ad agencies don’t understand the client OR their customers.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You’re right Rob and let me tell you this, Too many consumers don’t understand ad agencies or brands, ha!

Comment by Rob

YAY, cousin Bob!

Comment by Seb

I hate 4×4’s. I hate this ad, in fact the word America and patriot should NEVER be in the same sentence, by jingo.
And I’m a Leeds fan- I sympathise with the Forest thing.

Comment by NP

I’ll see you at Forest V Leeds next season NP … should be a thrilling 90 minutes of medoicrity eh.

Now are you going to start posting again please!

Comment by Rob

I’m not sulking I’m busy! Soon I promise.

Comment by NP

Its true.

And I do wonder about whether some Americans (mainly those who buy 4x4s) can actually see through the patriotic marketing routine.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Trust me Rob … the patriotic thing is another good reason WHY they buy the bloody thing, ha!


You betcha … well, they would be if they hadn’t taken the word ‘GULLIBLE’ out of the Oxford English Dictionary for some reason.

Comment by Rob

Have they really?!!

(I KNOW….i know… im just setting you up for the punch line)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

good morning all.
rob, i’m glad you’ve kind of cleared something up for me. i have been wondering what happens in the ad biz when you come up against a client whose principles make you want to vomit, and it’s the one thing that absolutely prevents me from being in adland – i would just have to abandon ship and tell someone like hummer to fuck off and find someone else to blow them. very unhelpful, really.

and thanks age and andy.

Comment by lauren

Lauren … not all agencies sell their souls [ours for instance] but unfortunately a lot do.

To be fair, not all of them do it with smiley faces – they do it because they need to keep bringing in the money to keep paying their employees who entrust them with their livlihooods.

The issue – at least for me – is whether the concerns you have with the brand in question can be solved through clever thinking [ie: Hummer] or whether you have to walk away from the opportunity in its entirity because it goes against fundamental values you hold dear [as I did recently when offered a job running Phillip Morris]

It’s tough – but it is probably not that different from you being commissioned to do work then have the purchaser want to make significant changes.

Unfortunately we live in a World of compromise – the issue is how far is too far.

There is a difference between principals and perspective.

A principal is something you are willing to let cost you something because the issue is so important to what you believe … a perspective is about differences-of-opinion which tend to be able to be managed.

Hummer … for me … is about perspective, Fags is about principals … but I appreciate I could be alone in that view.

Comment by Rob

I think thats about right.
Its one of the reasons I find cynic so fascinating; is that you have strong principles yet still work as an ad agency.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Yes … a small ad agency, ha!

I joked when I said cynic was set up to be the Betty Ford Clinic for the Disenfranchised Ad Person – but there’s abit of truth in it because as much as we all want to be disgustingly rich, we don’t want to do it by just chasing the cash, we want to do something with value … something with soul and something we can be proud of, or what is the point of doing our own thing?

If it all fell apart – at least we tried – but so far so good, but that’s more because of the people and clients we have attracted than anything George, Andy and I did – even though I am sure they think differently, ha!

Comment by Rob

But you have attracted good clients BY being what you want to be… by being confident in what you do and believe.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

You’re right Rob … the best thing we ever did was decide what sort of clients [rather than what specific brands] we wanted … which is why we know our ‘offer’ was always going to be more attractive to brands that were/are

[1] run by an entrepeneur
[2] challenger/hungry to grow
[3] want to understand people

And that is reflected in our client list … even though we have also attracted other types of brands [ie: Coke etc] who want some of what we do – even if in practice, they’re not that keen on doing any of it, ha!

Comment by Rob

Which is good because you know that most companies that will use you are ready to listen to what you say rather than try and know better.

I suppose its better that Coke and co hear what they need to be doing and dont use it than not be told at all. Over time it might help sway them qualitywards!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I think in just about every job you can compromise your values someway. I’m not saying this is ok, but it is a fact. I think what is strange is seeing a value driven org in Ad world. I think this is great & you guys should be very proud of what you have done – it would be great to see this model adopted more broadly.

Comment by Jade

You can see the effects of the HHCL spirit in what they do…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I think the HHCL spirit was best summed up by mass theft of office furniture on the last day.

I’m sitting in Jim Kelly’s chair as we speak.

And yes Rob (Cynic), I’ve seen the Howell Henry Show.. the blackmail material is endless.. endless I tell you.*

*It was an inhouse show, produced once and a while.. featuring current industry luminaries doing silly things. It was bloody fantastic, and one of the reasons I imagine HHCL was so great to work at.

Comment by Will

We should all be glad that YouTube – and Marcus – weren’t around during HHCL TV or it would make iPOD Singing look like a walk in the park, ha!

Comment by Rob

I bet Colombian Marching Powder inspired most, if not all of the sketches. Made me laugh.

Comment by Will

I think I was the only person who ever walked through those doors that never had any alcohol or powder enter my system … it was THAT sort of place back then. Allegedly. Ahem.

And Jade … if I had my way, cynic would be far, far more political but my dear colleagues reminded me that having a roof over our heads is something quite nice so you/me/us will just have to wait and see what my next plan is.

It should be good. I hope …

Comment by Rob

Will, theres a great part about office chairs in the book “Then we came to the end” by Joshua Ferris (i reviewed it lol)… worth a read!

Sounds interesting Rob!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Yeah Rob?

I’ll check it out. I really am sitting in Jim Kelly’s chair though. Wheeled it home through Clerkenwell, up Old Street and to my home. Got a ‘few’ funny looks.

Comment by Will

haha! nice.
Yeah, the book has some good chair related stories!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

rob, please know that when i’m talking about ad companies that don’t have principles, i’m not talking about cynic. despite the hummer thing (which i personally couldn’t do, but that’s just me), i know that you guys are, by and large, fairly fucking principled – compared to a whole bunch of other agencies out there and that is exactly why i come back and harass you day after day.
and knowing the way of the world, i will probably end up temping for an organisation headed by the devil incarnate here.. ha!

Comment by lauren

If you got a job at Philip Morris / Shell or Radioactive-Waste-R-Us … I don’t know whether I’d laugh or cry.

Actually I do. Guess … 🙂

Comment by Rob

Just dont work for Wal Mart!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

For me.. ad folk have to sell stuff, so morals have to be (sort of) checked at the door. Much better than it used to be though.

And now it’s coming full circle. Eventually we’ll have ‘green’ niche agencies, I’m sure.

Comment by Will

i think i would have to laugh as well. and make the MDs tea with a little extra something-something.

Comment by lauren

Blasted roof.

Maybe Hummer aren’t as bad as I first thought on the environmental stance – or maybe this has just been spin doctored:

Comment by Jade

While I can see where you’re coming from Will, I don’t entirely agree with you interms of leaving morals at the door.

There is always a choice, the starting point is deciding if your issues are about your fundamental values or a difference of opinion. Once that’s worked out, everything becomes clear … and as for your ‘Green’ agencies, watch this space – it is definitely going to happen in some way or other, but maybe not just with an ‘environment’ focus – that would be to limiting to be commercially viable I think.

Lets see what the next few months have in store …

Comment by Rob

Oh, Jade, Thank’s for the birthday shout!

Comment by Marcus

Go on Lauren … BITE on Jade’s post!!!

Comment by Rob

Well, I don’t mean that in a ‘let’s see how many baby seals can we club’ way of thinking.

No, I mean in terms of an agency as a collective, and the agency exists to turn a profit – but of course, depending on the founders (W&K springs to mind, as they are still independent), they can choose to not get involved.

Big, massive corporate agencies on the other hand – not a chance in hell.. but I think that’s changing, and I’m very pleased about it.

Comment by Will

Is it today?

Sounds like you know something we dont Rob!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I know something that MIGHT happen that you don’t Rob.

The emphasis is on ‘MIGHT’ at the moment, ha!

I have done NOTHING today … not a bean … and yet I have tons and tons and tons to do. So I’m going to say thanks for all your comments and go home to eat dinner with Jill then – being the mature couple we are – play GUITAR HERO 2 and re-live the days when I was paid to be a guitarist to errrrrrm, Rick and Terrance. BOO!

Night all … hope you have toptastic days.

[and Lauren – hope you have good job news too!]

Comment by Rob

Haha. A vid of you and Jill on guitar hero would be comic gold!

Might eh? Sounds interesting…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

No prob Marcus, tried to say it on Sunday, but wordpress ate my words & I was in a bad mood – being at work on a Sunday and all.

Rob, if you are talking about my Hummer post – you can’t really believe me. I don’t even drive and am the only western person I know who catches a bus in Dubai – even though I know most of the precious expat souls here catch them back home.

Rob, good luch with your plans, sounds very interesting.

Lauren, I wish you all the best with your interviews. I should really be doing the same thing, rather than resigning and then waiting for the stars to align.

Comment by Jade

Thanks guys for the vote of confidence re:interviews – i’m now officially on the media temping books, so i’m going to be an administrative slut, touting my arse about the west end for the next couple of months.. should be fun!

And re: that dig at me re: jade’s post, rob? i’ve got some advice for you mr……

dropping pants on stage does not deploy star power..

Comment by lauren

Lauren – hope it goes well.

And as for dropping pants on stage not deploying star power.. no, but it does give people a view of the moon.

Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress. Try the veal.

Comment by Will

I loved this ad! Why be so harsh on something that is just so fun?

Comment by Ian

Hi Ian … you are absolutely entitled to your opinion, and if you like it, then great – Jeep will be pleased.

I think I’ve expressed my view on why I don’t like it so we should just ‘agree to disagree’, 🙂

Comment by Rob

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