Effective Ads About Nothing

August 16, 2009

I’ve always noticed that the ads that Sterling Cooper comes up with are rarely about anything. They usually don’t say much about the product. Take the Lucky Strike account. Don comes up with the slogan “It’s Toasted” which is a raving success but what does that actually say about the Lucky Strikes? It doesn’t actually indicate any superiority over the other brands (which was the idea). At the same time “It’s Toasted” isn’t a failure, it’s a successful, memorable slogan because, for some reason, toasted tobacco is soothing and pleasant to think about.

I realized that these fluffy ads aren’t really unique to Mad Men. Take my favorite Gillette ad. I regularly use Gillette products because, I guess, the commercials and I’ve never had any real problem with the razors or the shaving cream. Even so, I’d say their ads are a notable part of why I pick Gillette over Schick or another brand.  But the Gillette ad campaigns don’t actually tell you why the Gillette products are good, just that they are good — so good that they’re “the best a man can get.” It’s a memorable but empty slogan just like “It’s toasted.” Here’s the Gillette ad:


UPDATE: And as was revealed in the first episode of season 3, Sterling Cooper represents Gillette. No suprise there.


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