Opining on ads that backfire

There can be a fine line between opining and pontificating. You can decide which word is more appropriate here.

Another line was crossed several times in recent days in high-stakes, Super Bowl-level advertising. Groupon and HomeAway may be the most notable examples of  dancing on the edge of (stomping clumsily along the edge of) humorous and stumbling over into the realm of sophomoric, insensitive and offensive.

Not that there is anything wrong with being sophomoric, insensitive and offensive.

The problem is when such humor interferes with and then eclipses the advertiser’s message. A client who spends millions of dollars to place ads that are counterproductive and have to be pulled because of consumer backlash has been ill-served by its agency.

Groupon. I was familiar with that outfit before, and I groaned when I saw the ad with Timothy Hutton.

HomeAway. I still don’t know what that is and won’t bother to find out – not with the image of “smashed baby” in my mind. Test baby? I don’t really care. Not funny. Not a bit.

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