If I'm going to take time away from this blog I'll need to stop reading websites because I just can't help myself with some of this stuff.  So that's the plan...after this post.

That said, in a video recorded today Loren Feldman explains the new Microsoft Ad that is making its way around the Web.  Here's the Microsoft ad itself and his video explaining it.

I don't disagree with his explanation but I do think the whole thing shows the Ad isn't very competently made.  The fact that most people aren't getting it isn't their fault it's the fault of the Ad.

Bottom Line: If your customer needs someone "smarter than them" to explain an Ad...then the ad didn't work. 

In line Addendum: Some people have taken offense at the use of the word "smarter" in the sentence above.  To them I'd say I was speaking to the advertisers from their perspective (which would be to think people who don't get their humor are dumb).  I didn't mean to imply that people who didn't get this Ad were dumb and I made a slight revision to reflect that.

Ads are supposed to appeal to the lowest common denominator because their job is get as many people in the door as possible. It isn't a place for artistic expression or for proving the Ad agency is smarter than their audience. 

If anything, a successful Ad lowers the advertiser to the point of being on the same level as the dumbest member of their audience. 

To prove my point I'd like to focus on the agency that made the ad, Crispin Porter + Bogusky.  For those who don't know the name they enjoyed a bit of success for producing the popular "Subservient Chicken" ad series that ran for Burger King in 2004/2005.  Below is my personal favorite from that series of commercials.

Ah Hootie...you are missed.

Anyway, as I said the Ads were quite popular among the media and Advertising professionals.  But they always bothered me and here's why: They didn't work!

The sandwich they were selling flopped (not even on the BK menu anymore), Burger King went public with an IPO while these ads were running and immediately dropped from an initial price of $18.60 to $13.05 (in less than 3 months) and Burger King eventually retired the Ads (in favor of the still running "Plastic King" series of Ads).

This is my point.  A good Ad makes people want your product not love your Ad.  All this viral marketing junk where the Ad becomes the star is stupid.  It doesn't work.  It gets everyone talking about the Subservient Chicken but no one actually wants to go to Burger King because of it. 

Companies Please Listen: Getting Your Name "Out There" Doesn't Accomplish Anything If It Doesn't Also Make Them Want Your Product

The true irony is the ad agency ended up getting Burger King to pay for their own Ads.  No one came away from the Subservient Chicken Ads wanting a Chicken Sandwich but Crispin Porter established itself as a "Leader in the Viral Marketing Space"  Now people still don't eat at Burger King but Microsoft is willing to pay Crispin Porter tons of money to film non-sense with Jerry Seinfeld.