It’s not often I talk about my job, or other interests, on this blog. But recently, I’ve been compelled to share something, and I thought there was no better place to do it. My job, work, interests and passions usually overlap somewhere along the way – I don’t know many people who consider what they do for a living also a hobby – but I’m one of them.
Part of my job involves advertising, marketing, promotion and communications, but as a person, I’m also fascinated by advertising, marketing, promotion and communications. So naturally, when I spot an excellent advert (or equally an atrocious advert), I sit up, pay attention and then share it with someone because I need to talk about it. This week, I saw what I consider to be one of the worst branding efforts I’ve seen for a long time, and it wasn’t because of poor quality camera skills, or a bad script.
I’ll set the scene – I’m about to sit down and eat dinner, when an advert comes on TV with Sir Trevor McDonald. For anyone who isn’t aware of Sir Trev, he’s a famous UK journalist and news reader, who also makes excellent documentaries from time-to-time. He exudes confidence, intelligence and integrity. I’m a big Sir Trev fan, and I usually love his documentaries. Among other things, the advert shows violent scenes – government brutality, children in war zones, bombs exploding. I’m expecting a new documentary recounting Sir Trev’s life and career. I’m excited for this programme. The advert ends, and instead of a date and time to watch the show, I’m presented with a promotion for an eye test from Vision Express, a UK-based optician. I’m baffled. Which Marketer in their right mind thinks this is how to advertise eye tests?! And I’m shocked, disappointed in Sir Trev for agreeing to use that kind of imagery to promote a commercial product. I’m so angered, I complain to Vision Express and ASA (Advertising Standards Authority). I’ve never complained to ASA before, sure I’ve thought some ads were silly, or a little risqué, but I’ve never felt the strong desire to actually complain. Until now.