Sunday, September 4, 2011

Ads These Days

There has been a spate of interesting ads of late. And I use "interesting" in the Minnesota sense of the word, which is synonymous with "something I don't really like but am too polite to say so."

Ad with black man in white hard hat, headline reads Who are the Americans who will benefit from Canadian oil sands?

First is this hard-hatted guy pitching for the pipeline from the Candian oil sands in Alberta. That's the pipeline that would cross from Montana to South Dakota and then on through Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, i.e., the entire height of the lower 48 states. The one that people have been getting arrested about all week in Washington.

Yes, we need jobs, but building a pipeline to funnel the dirtiest of oils across huge swaths of land so that we can pretend peak oil isn't happening for a few more years isn't the way to go about it. Maybe hard hat man would be just as happy putting up wind turbines or building high-speed rail. How about that?

Ad with white guy in an orange hard hat and highway sign that reads THANK YOU Congressman Erik Paulsen

This hard-hatted guy is thanking Erik Paulsen, Congress member from the Twin Cities' western suburbs, for supporting a bill that takes the long-term cost of construction projects into account, so that things are built to last. That sounds reasonable, but something about this smarmy ad makes me suspicious.

The link goes to a site that (after a little looking around) says it is funded by the Portland Cement Association, so I guess this is part of the cement vs. asphalt quarrel that's been going on for a long time. I know next to nothing about the arguments on either side in that fight, but I would think the environmental impact of each should also be part of choosing an approach, since that's also part of its long-term cost.

While asphalt is necessarily oil-based, it sounds like there are environmental arguments to make in its favor. Concrete, on the other hand, creates a light-colored surface, which would be advantageous for preventing the heat-island effect. No answers from me on this, but just a sneaking suspicion that it's  more complicated than this ad lets on.

Black and white Walgreen's ad witih headline 99.9% accurate. 100% confidential. Subhead reads And it often works without even opening the box

I found this drug test ad disturbing. At first I thought it was targeted to people who want to check their own drug status before they get tested at work, but then I read the subhead and copy and realized it's meant for parents who want to test their kids.

That's needed sometimes, I'm sure, but the fact that there's an ad for it in the newspaper implies that it's a broad problem, and that people who read the paper are looking for this type of solution. I'm not sure why that rankles me, but it does.

CenturyLink ad with green slinky on a white background, headline reads A refreshingly straightforward broadband experience

And finally, there was another illogical Slinky ad from CenturyLink, our new phone and internet service provider.

It's somewhat less bad than their earlier ad, but I still don't get how a Slinky is supposed to symbolize connection, let alone a straightforward connection. After all, it's a twisted, flattened wire that uses dozens of times more material to cover a distance than regular wire.


Michael Leddy said...

I like the reasoning in the drug test ad: it gives your kids a weapon. No, I can’t partake, because my parents test me. That’s a good reason?

Carmella said...

And if you have ever tried to get a slinky to travel - you know it is a tricky, awkward business at best. Good for a hearty bark but not an efficient way to get from point A to B. And, boy oh boy, do they get snarled easily!