Category Archives: recession

And if this turns into a depression, we’re golden!

CMOs continue to the say the darndest things. Wal-Mart CMO Stephen Quinn had this gem in this week’s Ad Age:

“We were fortunate that this recession came along. It played to our positioning really well.”

Yes, Stephen, it’s true. Wal-Mart was very well-positioned for customers facing job loss, foreclosure and loss of life savings. Nothing like that Katrina thing where all the shoppers were cooped up in the Superdome!

Christ, it’s enough to make one yearn for the return of Julie Roehm.

Guaranteed 32% less bad.

One theory about this week’s nice spike in the stock market is that it was driven by news that shit isn’t as bad as it could be. Here’s a quote from today’s New York Times:

“General Electric, the blue-chip corporation, was stripped of its triple-A credit rating, an emblem of business prowess it proudly held since 1956. But its rating fell just one notch, less than some analysts predicted. Shares of G.E. soared 13 percent…
Less bad was good enough.”

Maybe in these diminished times, diminished claims have their place. Think about all those DTC fair-balance warnings…we could make some kickass claims out of those:

“Shown to be 24% less likely to cause blindness, insanity or death than other cholesterol reducers.”

The coal lobby’s “Clean Coal” ads, which the Coen brothers savagely and appropriately turned upside down (thanks for the tipoff, American Copywriter dudes) can escape further ridicule with the truth:

“Burning coal causes less dirty, polluting smoke than burning dung or discarded tires.”

Ads of the Great Recession, Part Two.

A glimmer of genius in the gloom of recession and perpetual retail blowout sales. Snaps to New York retro-crockery merchant Fishs Eddy.

Ads from the Great Recession

Following the recent layoffs at O&M and elsewhere, there are maybe 32 people left to make ads for every client in the world during the Great Recession.

Some of these clients are staggering ahead, zombie-like, their ads suggesting they don’t know they’re actually dead and that the living are in pain. While Citi natters on about never sleeping, a concept that was novel in the pre-digital, pre-global, pre-ATM’ 70s but flat-out stupid now, ING is getting with the program by championing savings and the savers who save it.

Tiffany reacted with what I thought was tremendous speed (probably because they had this campaign ready to go for the Doomsday scenario currently unfolding) with their holiday ads talking about buying fewer, better things and gifts that hold value. Moral issues aside (and they are legion), this was clever thinking.

But I knew we were well and truly deep into the Great Recession when I saw a Gillette spot pleading with people not to re-use their disposable blades. Brother, can you spare a 5-blade Fusion cartridge?

Christmas Eve, 2008

Today at 1:39 PM, the Great Recession finally reached me.

No, I didn’t lose my job. I lost a half-eaten roll that was sitting on the bar at the Bar Room of the Oyster Bar in Grand Central.

A homeless man walked through the seasonal crowd, spotted my roll, made a Citizen’s Appropriation and kept walking. The bartender, a young woman, watched in horror. “What the hell are you doing?” she asked him.

“Eating a roll” he answered logically as he sauntered out and into the Terminal.

“I’m so sorry,” she said to me, mortified, and then proceeded to put a fresh basket of bread in front of me.

Then it was my turn to be mortified. Mortified that I was feasting on oysters when this guy stole my roll. Mortified that I didn’t run after him and offer to buy him lunch. Mortified most of all that I still had an appetite when all was said and done.

It’s the season of giving, and giving takes many forms. The Talmud distinguishes 10 different kinds, and rank-orders them to boot. I don’t know enough about my own religion, or the one that celebrates Christmas, to know if inadvertent giving even counts.

How not to be right for the times.

If you had to choose between filling a prescription and filling your tummy, wouldn’t this cover make the choice ever-so-much easier?