Is any press really good press?

About a year and a half ago, my agency was approached by a company out of Omaha called Salesgenie to do Super Bowl spots. Apparently the CEO had picked us because he saw some of our work and liked it. Naturally, we were stoked. The whole creative department worked on the assignment, and we pitched several ideas to the CEO. He thanked us, said he liked the work, but his board wasn’t convinced that the Super Bowl was a prudent use of their budget.

Apparently, they changed their mind, because they did run an ad on the Super Bowl last year. It was written by the CEO himself, and was voted the worst ad of the 56 Super Bowl ads by the USA Today poll. Here it is:

Pretty bad. Offensive? Probably depends on who you ask. But they raise some interesting questions, I think:

1) What’s their deal? Salesgenie’s strategy is to intentionally do bad ads, as explained in this article. And if it makes the company a profit, that’s good, right? Are brands crazy for trying to get people to like them when all they have to do is get people to talk about them?

2) Is there no difference between being famous and being notorious?

3) The CEO of Salesgenie is an Indian man. Does knowing that make the first one less offensive?

4) Where’s the line between so bad it’s good and just bad?

5) The Superbowl’s audience is mostly American, and the country can hardly be held accountable for every ad our companies air, but I felt embarrassed and not proud at all for being in advertising, and even a little American when I saw these. Anyone else agree?


8 thoughts on “ Is any press really good press?

  1. 1. To steal from “Hey, Whipple,” I could spit on the table during a meeting and everyone would remember and talk about it. Still not a reason to spit on the table.2. Michael Jackson was famous. Now he’s notorious. He was an icon. Now he’s a joke. Notorious is famous without the respect.3. No. The sheer chance of being born in one place doesn’t give you the right to hijack a culture or perpetuate your own stereotype. Anyway, they still did the Chinese Panda ad. “Funny accents” is part of their “idea.”4. Passage of time and irony. Culture makes that call. It’s nothing you can dictate or predict.5. I’m more embarrassed by the lowest common denominator that’s manifest by the Super Bowl ads. The Hyundai spots are proof that smart doesn’t go over well when most of the nation is watching. But hit someone in the crotch, and now you’re moving product! (Theoretically.)


  2. 1) What if spitting on the table made you a lot of money? Would you spit on the table for a million bucks? Two million? Now that we’ve established you’re a table-spitter, we’re just negotiating your price. 2) There’s a difference. Look no further than the classic example of David Bowie v. Alec Baldwin. One, a great man. The other, pure evil. Choose your team. 3) No, but I didn’t find the first ad offensive in the first place. Just a silly promise, and a silly ad. Like an Indian guy would ever be the worst employee – sheesh. 4) I draw the line somewhere between Top Secret and the Naked Gun 33 and 1/3. 5) I know a little American. He’s sitting over there. Hey, did those Hyundai ads have a twist? they seemed like luxury car ads, so i just thumbed my bus pass and thought about some average joe getting racked in the cradle of civ until they were over. That always passes the time for a LCD groundling like me.


  3. Burr-I can’t tell you exactly what the creative was in case we want to change the logo at the end and use it for someone else. They were Super Bowl ads–funny, physical comedy. I don’t think we had buttons on them though, and I’m not sure if the networks allows ads that don’t have buttons.


  4. The CEO sounds pleased with his investment. But how much more money might he have made if he’d run ads that were credible as well as memorable? Particularly since he’s promising 100 free sales leads simply for contacting his company. And if he hadn’t promised 100 freebies, I have to wonder what kind of results these ads would have yielded, as well as the quality of respondent he would have attracted.


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