Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Old is the New New

I will admit to being a bit baffled by the latest campaign to promote traditional newspapers.  "Smart is the New Sexy". Mostly because this is not the 1980s and this particular campaign is about 35-years shy of being hipster ironic.

When I saw it my thoughts, in order, were:

1) Sexy is the new sexy.  Sexy was the old sexy.  Sexy will always be sexy unless you somehow think there is anything wrong with just plain sexy, meaning it needs to be replaced with something else.

2) I like newspapers.  I read newspapers.  I read the New York Times in an airport just yesterday.  But this is nothing that makes words in the average newspaper smarter than words in a magazine or on a website.  In fact on the previous flight I picked up two competing Chicago papers and at least three of the front page stories were word-for-word, picture-for-picture identical.  Freelancers may be smart, but newspapers are starting to look pretty damn idiotic.

3) Lets pair our product with a girl in stiletto heels so it becomes insta-sexy.  Um. Yeah.  Is that the nest advertising companies can come up with these days? Then there is the ad copy. Holy fricking jalapeno Christ.  Try this: "When you want to find out what they're talking about in Washington, D.C., or find the best deal on that pair of shoes you've been longing for, your newspaper has you covered."  This translates as: we desperately want readers in the female 25-45 demographic and we think they like shoes.

5) Then there is the main blurb: "The "Smart is the new sexy" industry promotion ads reinforce the value of newspaper media to existing and prospective consumers. The ads speak to the timeless merits of newspaper journalism, newspapers as vehicles for savvy shoppers, and the community insights and information that newspapers provide. Collectively, they reinforce the enduring draw of our medium among print audiences while engaging those consumers who come to newspapers through their many digital formats. All advertising materials are still available to newspapers that wish to run them in print or online. Interested newspapers may download print and digital files for each ad using the image buttons on the right rail."   This translates as: You think the Newspaper Association of America is naff, and you're probably right.

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