Wednesday, October 19, 2005

BE afraid...advertising nonsense

A few weeks ago, I read a scintillating article (which I have unfortunately no record of) with an advertising guru, where he spelled out the lazy archetypes of advertising - the only one of which I can remember is the "literal metaphor" of which the Guiness Fish on a Bicycle ("a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle") is an example.

Last night I was reminded of another lazy archetype that was not mentioned in the article; crossing London Bridge Station, I saw the new poster for "Billy Elliot" which used his initials to spell out a series of "BE" statements (I can't remember which, but I don't think "BE annoyed" was one of them!). This is lazy advertising at its worst in my opinion: there are so many companies (including one for which I used to work) with "BE" initials who go down this unimaginative, uninspiring path. It always reminds me of the Birthday card (which apparently draws on a quote from Kurt Vonnegut):

"To be is to do"--Socrates.

"To do is to be"--Jean-Paul Sartre.

"Do be do be do"--Frank Sinatra.

I can only remember "be afraid, be very afraid" ("The Fly") ever striking me as a good piece of "BE" marketing, and you'll notice that the initials of "The Fly" are not - by chance - "BE". Does anyone else have any pet peeves on this front?

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