Two national ad campaigns have made a big impression on me over the past couple weeks -- one of them a really, really bad impression, the other an awesome one.
Let's do the lousy one first. It's from an employment-leads Web site calling itself The Ladders.
Some bad ads inspire hatred toward the advertising firm but merely pity toward the hapless company that got suckered into buying them. This commercial, however, inspires burning hate-daggers toward both the agency and the company, whose corporate philosophy, if this spot is any indication, can be summed up thusly:
1. If you're making $100,000 a year or more, you are AWESOME.
2. You are BETTER than people who don't make that much.
3. Because those people are bumbling, incompetent half-wits.
I mean, come on: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this ad's message is basically "Life as a six-figure senior executive would be so much grander if we didn't have to deal with these five-figure bozos." I mean, I'm just a schmuck five-figure earner with a stupid old baccalaureate degree and I'm smart enough to figure that out.
And while I may not be a "$100K person," I can tell a snotty, elitist ad when I see it. I mean, if you're aiming for a six-figure position and you're browsing around one one of those "regular" job sites, are we five-figure people getting in your way? Are we stopping you from achieving the paragraph-long job title that's rightfully yours? No; we're simply going about our business the same way you're going about yours. Save for a few ambitious masochists, we're not even applying for the same jobs you are. If our presence frustrates you so much, it's not because we're impeding your job search in any practical way, it's because you just don't want to be breathing the same air as us. So with that in mind, I have an upper-level position here at Hey Jenny Slater you might be interested in: Senior Vice President of Kissing My Ass. The pay not be exactly what you're looking for, but I can assure you you're qualified.
In summation, The Ladders, feel free to suck it. And while I may not be qualified enough for you to care what I think at the moment, I'm pretty sure I'm at least as smart as the titans of industry who were "earning" six figures running Bear Stearns the past few years.
Now for an ad campaign I fricking love: Holiday Inn Express's ads touting their new "hot breakfast bar."
I couldn't find a way to embed the "Let's send her a plate of bacon" ad, but you can watch it (if you haven't already seen it) here.
On a superficial level, this campaign's conceit is easy to get, and it's a cute joke: Ha ha, they're treating their breakfast bar like a bar bar! But the singles' meat-market aspect of a "bar bar" that is featured so prominently in these ads is the key to a deeper subtext that I find both a) very true and b) very awesome.
Let's be honest, people -- specifically, my fellow single members of the workforce: We all love out-of-town work trips. No matter how much of a faceless middle-managing drone we are, no matter how boring the destination, no matter how stingy our bosses are being with the expense account, we love those out-of-town trips. Why? Because it's a change of scenery? On a basic level, yes, but why else? You don't want to admit why out loud, but I'll tell you why: One-night stands. Once we get thrown into this unfamiliar city with a bunch of people we don't know, it is the perfect opportunity to meet a random person from another branch office, or another company, or another university, or whatever, and get invited up to his/her room and fuck like coked-up rabbits. After which point -- and this is kind of important -- we never have to see him/her again.
That's what this ad is really about -- the crazy mating rituals of the sex-starved conventioneer. We've all dreamed of strolling into the hotel bar after a long boring day of seminars, getting a wild hair and sending a Cosmopolitan to the brunette from the Fort Worth office, going up to her room and not parting ways until she calls you daddy; Holiday Inn Express may be trading the Cosmo for a plate of bacon, but the unspoken goal is still there. And they're making this the centerpiece of their national ad campaign. There is something achingly beautiful about the honesty in that.
So, gold star for you and your horny travelin' office drones, Holiday Inn Express; no soup for you, The Ladders. You've got a long, loooong way to go before you achieve "Ranch Tooth" status, that's for damn sure.