January 11, 2011

Yikes. This ad completely backfired.

Yikes. This ad completely backfired. 

Saw this ad (click on the image to enlarge) for the NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority on the subway last week and thought…really?  This copy was created by an ad agency and likely had to go through multiple client approvals…and no one realized how silly it makes them sound?

The wording implies…

  • All those subway issues you’ve experienced in the past due to maintenance problems…we knew about them, but we were just sitting around waiting for other things to break in that station
  • After being in existence for more than a century, we’ve finally figured out how to manage repairs
  • And now that we’ve had this long overdue epiphany, we want you to admire us for it

I was itching to get out my Sharpie and scribble on this ad:  “Dude…reality check:  that’s your job.  Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for it.”

There’s a lesson to be learned here about phrasing and positioning.  When you’re touting a long overdue change to your operation that you know will please your customers, don’t sabotage the message by first reminding them that you’re late to the party.  Look forward, underscore the benefits, and do not seek glory for your efforts to finally come up to scratch.  

In contrast…want to see a brilliant example of advertising?  Check out the July 31, 2010 post on redpointspeaks.com, “Less Words…More Meaning.”