This perhaps explains why one of my favorite movie bit is the sophomoric, way-over-the-top, hysterically funny campfire scene from “Blazing Saddles.” It’s my inner child striving to escape.
But introducing effective scatological humor into print advertising is difficult.
Consider this headline: “Tiffany, why did you…dookie…on Eric’s pillow?”
This copy stares at me from a coupon insert from a kitty litter company. I’m hard-pressed to see how cat poop on someone’s pillow passes for good messaging.
“Cats are complicated. Great Litter is simple,” the ad concludes.
My friend Lori Frank observed, “Litter IS simple. Buy, pour, clean up. DUH.”
As a dog person and finding the ad flawed, I know I probably didn’t have the right mindset.
So I asked cat owners on Facebook for their thoughts. Their unanimous response: It’s a stupid ad.
My conclusion: Great advertising is complicated. Bad taste is simple.
I won’t surprise you saying your business must market itself to be successful.
But effective communications combines thorough market intelligence, good strategy and sufficient budget.
Since children don’t typically buy kitty litter, this marketer apparently appeals to middle-aged women with 10-year-old humor.
Perhaps the advertiser didn’t properly understand the product or the audience. They didn’t do their research.
It’s a recipe for disaster.
Okay, I’m not Fred Astaire and I don’t reek from elegance at every turn. Over the years I’ve been known to say and do things that weren’t as refined as I might’ve hoped in retrospect.
Still, in my mind’s eye I’ve got a certain amount of class and expect to be treated accordingly.
I want my movies to have more clever dialogue than raunchy jokes. I’ll listen to classical and jazz over disjointed electronic thumping.
And I expect advertisers to deliver tasteful messaging that speaks to my image of myself. If they feel they need to talk to the lowest common denominator to make a sale, they’ve lost my attention.
I’m suspecting I’m not alone with this attitude.
Assuming I’m correct, brands should be combining class, style, taste, and good-natured humor to raise customers to a higher plateau. Appealing to lowest common denominators will drag those brands into the gutter.
We deserve better than that.