On Arla and Advertising

Apparently, Danish dairy giant Arla is having a hard time convincing people that naked women mix well with dairy products in tv ads. Certain groups don’t see the fun. We’ll get back to that in a moment. Also, advertising in the States seems to be in the spotlight right now. And from what I gather, over there it’s coming from the inside of the industry’s creative heads, not from puritans. Just read this letter (scroll down) to AdAge by retired exec VP of McCann-Erickson, Sean Fitzpatrick. Excerpt:

If we are not, as an industry and as individuals, willing to defend our reputation, we might as well change the name of advertising to Lying, Screaming and Bullshitting. That’s what too much of the public thinks of us now. More…

Fitzpatrick calls for an industry service mark for good advertising. Now does that strike a nerve. And on the very same AdAge page, the old ‘When to Take My Name Off the Door’ speech by Leo Burnett, from when he retired in ’67.

Now, would old Leo demand his name taken off the door if he knew that somewhere far away, in a remote branch of his beloved company, people were coupling dairy products with naked women? The line is a difficult one to walk, I’ll admit. But the campaign by advertising agency Leo Burnett is good. It’s a refreshing antidote to the fascist-feel-good, sterile image normally broadcast of a family having breakfast in an IKEA environment. But it’s not being received very well. Pour naked women in a bowl and just add milk, and apparently, media rage ensues: No, we don’t want advertising to make us think. No, you can’t change your boring image to something that doesn’t involve family values. No, we don’t like to be surprised. Malthe has all the links.

I personally would like to see an altered version of Fitzpatrick’s proposal: A service mark attributed only to commercials that have the potential to offend someone. Those are always the best ones, you know.

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