Salesgenie.com: 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?

Super Bowl Ads and One-Hit Wonders

The following came from an article in one.a magazine in 2002. But six years later, it’s just as applicable:

It was pointed out that what got people talking about everything from E*Trade to “Whassup?” to Mike’s Hard Lemonade, even Apple’s legendary “1984,” wasn’t that it debuted on the Super Bowl but that all were part of comprehensive campaigns built around the brands. (In Apple’s case, while the spot ran once, it was followed by a coordinated onslaught of print inserts, publicity and direct response.)

Too often, says one planner, “the game is used as a blow-the-budget one-off that may introduce an unknown brand, but then fails to convert into any long-standing equity without a decent supporting program,” as happened to many dot-com brands.