Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Much Ado About Advertisements!

Yesterday, I was reading the New Paper when an advertisement by Burger King caught my eyes. In big colorful print it read, "CLAW IN. New BK Fish with Honey Mustard Sauce (Even the Cat Wants It!) Then at the lower part of the ad it said, "Get Your Claws Into These Irresistible Snacks Too!".

Why annoy customers like me with the word "claws" when "fingers would be a better word? Does the copy writer of the ad think customers are cats or dogs? Copy writers should be professionals who should be most sensitive to the connotative and emotive innuendos in words and meanings.

As I had mentioned earlier, viewers and readers do not ask to watch or read advertisements. As such, it is even more annoying when ads are done in bad taste. I remember when I first came to Singapore, I applied for a copy writer's position due to the encouragement of the students in my evening adult class.

The interviewer asked me if there was any particular ad on television that I disliked. I told him and his panel of 4 interviewers that I disliked the "Breeze" advertisement. I could not stand the obese housewife who was panting even as she was carrying a big tub of dirty clothes. She heaved a loud sigh. Suddenly a box of Breeze detergent appeared before her. She opened her eyes in mock surprise and poured the powder into the washing machine. The ad was so unnatural and unconvincing. The jaws of the interviewers dropped. "Then, how do you propose to improve the ad?" asked one of the interviewers.

"Have you seen the cartoon of Snow White and the Seven Dwarf?" See how happy Snow White was as she was washing and hanging out the clothes to dry with the little birds helping her to hold the edges of the clothings.! Snow White made washing seem so much fun. It made me want to go back and wash my clothes!

Later, as I made my way out of the premises, to my surprise and amusement, I saw some huge boxes of Breeze detergents and other related paraphernalia. "Gosh, please don't tell me this company is the one that has produced the Breeze advertisement!"

As you can guess it, I did not get the job. I ended up in the National Institute of Education as a trainee teacher. I do not think I want to make copy writing my career as the work is tough. While I am critical, I also realise that writing good advertisements that appeal to the masses is very challenging. However, some of these popular advertisments have appealed to many. For example, the Visa ad, Tiger Beer Ad and the AXA Life Ad just to name a few.

Copywriting, anyone?

Gan Chau

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