I am a marketing genius

Advertising is a tough business. The average consumer is bombarded with hundreds of ads throughout the day, large and small, so getting their attention for more than a few seconds is a herculean task. Occasionally an ad campaign is heard through the din (the Geico cavemen and Nike’s “Just Do It” just to name a few) but most are quickly consigned to the dustbin of marketing history.

For companies looking to take their Q Score to the next level, I have the answer – spam. Sure the idea sounds vile at first, but so does McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” campaign and that crap’s been going on forever. So many ad executives are sold on trying to be super-clever or technologically innovative that they forget that simple is usually best. And what could be simpler or more effective than the techniques utilized by email spammers? Obviously enough people buy their crap that it’s worthwhile for them to keep doing it, right?

So now I humbly offer a handful of companies the golden opportunity to slash their bloated advertising budgets and reap ginormous profits at the same time…

Charles Schwab Corp.

Why Their Current Campaign Sucks — By now you’ve likely seen at least one entry in the “Talk to Chuck” campaign. Reportedly in an effort to get people to focus more on the content of the ads, they aped the rotoscoping technique used in films like A Scanner Darkly. While the effect was pretty interesting in the context of a movie, it just looks damn creepy in the commercials. The disturbing visuals are made even worse by having to listen to whiny middle-class schlubs bitch about paying online transaction fees. Here’s a hint for all you Gordon Gekko wannabes — if you can’t afford a few bucks to make an online trade, you’re too poor to be playing the market.

Spam email with image

It can't lose!


My Awesome Idea — I know I’m a sucker for a good penny stock, and I’m smarter than the average American. So to tap into that sadly overlooked market segment, “Chuck” needs to focus their efforts on sending out some now-ubiquitous email stock spam. It’s a lot less expensive than animated TV ads, and it will allow all of us to sleep a little more soundly at night.

Kia Motors

Why Their Current Campaign Sucks — While big brother Hyundai has made great strides in improving not just the quality of its cars but public perception of its cars, Kia still struggles. Making matters worse is series after series of uninspired ads that are either nauseatingly cutesy or ridiculously pretentious. Thanks to some of the recent Ronda ads, now instead of merely laughing at Kia I loathe them with the heat of a thousand white-hot suns.

Kia spam ad

To buy fly magenta, indeed.

My Awesome Idea — If Kia wants people to think of them as a better car, they need to get people to think in the first place. And what kind of advertising does that better than those emails full of random words that don’t even seem to be selling anything at all? No kind, that’s what.

America Online

Why Their Current Campaign Sucks — I’m not even 100% certain how AOL is attempting to market itself these days (it has been awhile since I’ve received an unsolicited AOL CD in the mail), but the last campaign I do remember — basically appealing to borderline retards who still, as of 2005, had no idea what a computer virus was or how to prevent them — was horrendous. But does it really matter anyway? So many people have been so turned off by the rather pushy tactics of the past that the company really has nowhere to go in terms of public opinion but up. Or do they?

AOL spam email

Sounds like a good deal to me.

My Awesome Idea — Striking deals with computer vendors to come pre-installed with Windows is no longer sufficient. Mailing out enough CDs to cover most of Greenland is no longer sufficient. It’s time for AOL to take things to the next level if they want to relive the glory days of the ’90s, and that means one thing — Nigerian 419 Scam emails!  It’s gold, Jerry, GOLD!

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