Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Good Ad vs. Bad Ad


With all of the political posturing on the airwaves lately, I haven’t seen a “good ad” in a while*. But I did see this one. And it’s bad.

It’s by advertising legend** Alex Bogusky, featuring music by pseudo-hippie musician Jason Mraz, and it’s been getting a lot of play within the advertising community.

On the surface, the concept isn’t a bad one—take the polar bears back from Coca-Cola. But polar bears aren’t the most svelte animals to begin with, what with the long winters and the layers of fat for hibernation and all, so showing changes in body composition is a bit of a stretch.

If you actually fed real polar bears Coca-Cola and showcased the results, the spot might be an interesting, shocking and impactful one.

But this spot fails on so many fronts: 1. You have to buy into the idea that sugar is pure evil, 2. It’s too long and not entertaining enough and 3. It’s condescending to the audience it’s trying to reach.

This spot delivers a lot of “sugar is bad” information. Well duh. People don’t drink soda because they think it’s healthy; they drink soda because it tastes good. If the goal of the spot was to say, “hey, did you know a soda a day makes you X times more likely to be obese, get diabetes and listen to Jason Mraz songs?” you might start to get people to realize just how bad soda is to their health.

But people don’t respond to facts alone. And just saying, “sugar is bad” is not enough. People need to be shown a way out—and dumping soda into the ocean*** isn’t it.

Is it realistic to expect people to go from a soda a day habit to plain old water?
How do you convince people to replace sugar drinks with healthier drinks?
Are diet/lite/zero drinks better?
Is it to get people to switch to 100% fruit drinks, which still have a lot of sugar in them?
Is it getting them to drink more natural coconut-water drinks at $2.50, when they are used to paying 89-cents?
What about iced coffee or iced tea drinks?
How do you get grocery and convenience stores to stock healthier options?
Is a win to just get people to drink one fewer soda a month/week/day?

Sure, we could all stand to consume a bit less sugar, especially on this day of free candy as far as the eye can see. But if you’re going to give up sugar, do it for yourself—not for some poorly animated polar bears.And definitely don't do it for Jason Mraz. That guy is like diabetes for your ears.

*The Joss Whedon Zombey ad was too long and half-assed for my tastes
**If there really can be such a thing
***Sugar is bad for you, but great for the environment? #$%@ing seriously?