Filed under: Co-option (If You Can't Beat 'Em...), Hype
Trying to Be Hip and Edgy, Ads Become Offensive
by Stuart Elliott and Tanzina Vega
New York Times
May 10, 2013
Some of the biggest names in marketing, including Ford Motor, General Motors, Hyundai Motor, Reebok and PepsiCo, have been forced recently to apologize to consumers who mounted loud public outcries against ads that hinged on subjects like race, rape and suicide.
PepsiCo found itself meeting this week with the Rev. Al Sharpton and the family of Emmet Till — the teenager whose death in Mississippi in 1955 helped energize the civil rights movement — to try to quell multiple controversies involving its Mountain Dew brand.
“It’s like the Wild West,” said Paul Malmstrom, a founding partner of the New York office of the Mother ad agency.
Advertising experts offer a long list of reasons for the increasing frequency of such incidents, but the primary reason they keep happening, they say, is the growing anxiety on Madison Avenue to create ads that will be noticed and break through the clutter. (more…)