AAARRRGGHHH!!!!!

Please tell me it’s not true. Tell me that Goodby, my very favorite ad agency in the world, doesn’t do ALL of Comcast’s print advertising.

Because I just saw an ad from Comcast featuring, big and bold, arguably the single most overused, stupid, worn out, hackneyed clichéd headline in the history of advertising.

“Comcast Means Business.”

I know. I couldn’t believe it either.

No irony. No wink. No clever insider reference or self-mockery.

How can this happen? I know that not every ad out of Goodby is an immortal gem, but come on. When I think of Goodby and risk, I don’t think of the risk of having created possibly the most obvious, banal, lazy, stupid, loathsome ad in memory. It’s one thing to let a stinker sneak by once in a great while. It’s another thing altogether to let the Stinker Of The World out into the world.

In 1990 or so, an article ran in one of the advertising trade journals railing against this exact same headline. Above the article there was collage of ad headlines, probably at least a dozen of them, all starting with the name of the brand, followed by the two words, “means business.” Kind of like polio, just when it looks like we've rid the world of it, it rears its ugly head again.

(There was a similar article during that same period complaining about the ubiquity of ads with headlines that began, “The Art Of _____” or “The Science Of ____”, which I’m now dreading seeing in the next Comcast ad I confront.)

Wait a minute. What am I talking about? Shame on me. I know perfectly well that this ad could not have come from Goodby. They are simply too good of an ad agency. I owe Goodby an apology for doubting them, even for a second.

A far more likely explanation is that some piece of Comcast business resides with some other, lesser agency that is responsible for this abhorrent ad. That, most certainly, is the explanation (though how ANY agency could have allowed this ad to happen remains beyond explanation.) Whew. I feel better. I scared myself there for a minute.

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Nice column and good recovery.
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Todd W. said...

YOu'll love this. At the bottom of this post in my feedreader was a little ad that used another one of those tired turns of phrase. It read "Syndicate AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT" (caps mine.)

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