Tag Archives: human behavior

Your Copy Sucks: Thanks for nothing, Dexter ads

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I love TV. I love it so much that I harshly judge people based on their viewing habits. I’ve ended relationships because of disagreements over which Iron Chef series is better (original, duh). So I take TV very seriously.

I also watch a lot of TV online or via Netflix because, you know, geek. I finished Dexter season two months ago and was really looking forward to starting season three, which just came out on DVD. This is all background information for my griping.

My point is, I walk outside my office one afternoon and I see this noise:

2009-09-01 21.38.40

Y’all in NYC have probably seen these promos for Dexter season four all over. It’s in the subway and on buses and, I dunno, stuck to the backs of the doors in women’s rooms.

And it pisses me off because it’s like a giant spoiler that’s following me everywhere!

“Teej,” say the unfortunate people who must listen to me whine about this, “it’s not that big of a spoiler. I mean, it’s just Dexter holding a kid. Could mean anything.”

To those unfortunates I say: LOOK AT THE COPY.

2009-09-01 21.38.40

Here’s my dramatic reenactment of how this ad campaign came about. Imagine a room full of modern day Mad Men wannabes: Diet Coke instead of scotch, mint gum instead of cigarettes, you get the picture. And GO:

“We can just have the picture of Dexter and the baby. Good image.”

“Do you think people will take it the wrong way? We don’t want people thinking he’s going to kill the baby.”

“Yeah, we definitely don’t want people to think he’s going to kill the baby.”

“Can’t have baby-killing.”

“Nope. No baby-killing. Can’t have that.”

“We need some copy that explains that he’s not going to hurt the baby.”

“Oh, how about ‘This is Dexter’s baby that he had in season three that TJ Dietderich hasn’t seen yet because it just came out on DVD’? Good?”

“Yeah, but ‘World’s Most Killer Dad’ is snappier.”

“Cut! Print! We’re done here.”

End scene.

It’s not like this baby was a secret; I’m told there was a special behind-the-scenes episode about this plot line. But I had gone to great lengths to avoid those things. Copy, on the surface, seems to have very little to do with my spoilery anger. But allow me to make an incredibly far reach.

I believe that all copy, even ad copy, should consider its audience. Not its intended audience, not its target demo, but every single person who’s going to be looking at it. Obviously the ad dudes considered the people who might be offended by the image of the baby with a serial killer (oh, spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen season one: Dexter is a serial killer). Why not also consider the people who would be offended by spoilers? Why not just let that image and the show logo speak for itself? Why the annoying little pun that destroys all the mystery?

Who is this ad for? All the people who are caught up on the show and already know about the baby? All the people who are only vaguely familiar with the premise of the show and love babies? What about me in the middle ground, yo? Where’s my Dexter ad?

Signed,
baby-hatin’ Teej.

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Guest Post: Twitter as a study in human behavior

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[Editor’s Note: We are graced with contributor post on our first day from Josh Sternberg.  PR BreakfastClub is happy to accept outside articles.  Check here for information on submitting a guest post.]

I want to preface this piece by saying I love Twitter. Maybe not as much as I love my wife, or baseball, or even a good burger, but I enjoy the opportunities Twitter provides: learning about people through discussion, learning about brands, getting information that I normally wouldn’t think to research, etc.
However, Twitter is also a great study in human behavior, as Twitter is just a microcosm of our society whereby the cliques that form on Twitter are for the most part the same cliques that are found in high schools. This has become more evident since the passing of John Hughes. As I watched my Twitter stream recite quotes from his coming-of-age films, I started to view Twitter as nothing but a social media breakfast club. In fact, I’m writing a post on a blog called: PR BREAKFAST CLUB for crying out loud!
In January of this year, I made the conscious decision to at least TRY to go to one industry event a month. So I find myself at some place where a bunch of people are on a stage playing a game; I believe it was a “guess that meme” game. And as I’m standing in the back, nestled between the bar (ironic since I don’t drink) and a few people I’ve met over the years, it strikes me that I’m bored. And I’m bored because the people on stage are clearly having a great time, only I don’t understand why. Turns out, it was all a gag…all inside jokes that if you had no idea who these people were (like me) you wouldn’t find it funny. So I left.
Twitter is the same way. Look at this blog, for example. It was started because a bunch of excited, young, talented PR people decided they wanted to share content. Each day, the hashtag #prbreakfastclub or #prbc is attached to the end of tweets so that people know they are part of a group. I like the idea that complete strangers have formed bonds online and can work together and hang out offline. That said, it reaches a point of ridiculousness (at least for me) when we start seeing “Top 50 people to follow on Twitter lists.”  (http://prsarahevans.com/2009/08/voting-now-open-for-the-2009-top-50-tweeples-to-follow/)
(In fact, in this Twitter-age, it seems as if persistent Tweeters can be more influential than industry experience. For example, a 23-year-old with thousands of followers can position themselves much better now as an influencer compared to 5 years ago when a 23-year-old would most likely be fetching coffee for a more senior person. Now, I’m not one to say that youth isn’t valuable to an organization/brand/whatever, but since today’s barriers to entry have been demolished by the democratization of media, if you’re loud enough, you gain influence. But that is a topic for another day.)
I understand these lists are for fun, and the creators of these lists make that point very clearly. But there are a lot of periphery people who use Twitter (not to mention the overzealous, self-important, vapid self-promoter who uses these lists as an opportunity to say how great they really are) who don’t know this. Even more important is that this philosophy of fluffing up your online buddies diminishes the overall value of the content provided by these people; mainly because there are always people that will be let off a list.
These lists are emblematic of a culture that needs constant approval to validate their existence. (Hell, a study was just completed where 57% of young people believe their generation uses social networking sites for self-promotion, narcissism and attention seeking.) Now, this is not to say that we’re these narcissistic vultures who provide no value to anything and just let the drivel drip from our fingertips onto the keyboard. There is some value from these lists, mostly opening up new avenues of learning. The problem is that these lists are blinded by the little piece of world they exist in. There are some great people on this list, but how many of them are connected to each other compared to those not on the list?
It just seems as if it’s a matter of who you know, not what you know. Where are the academics, the reporters (yes, there are a couple), the athletes, the thinkers, the movers, the VCers? Just because your world accepts that certain influencers should already be followed, the rest of the public typically has no idea who these people are. This is a myopic list at best and a sycophantic list at worst. But that’s the nature of lists, isn’t it?
And you may have though throughout this rambling post, well, you’re not on the list and that’s why you’re grumpy. As Groucho Marx says, “I don’t care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members.” On the flip side, please retweet this article so that people can read what I’ve written. In fact, I think I’ll post a link to this article every 5 minutes over the span of 24 hours just to make sure my legions of followers know that I’ve written something very profound.
RT Pls.

I want to preface this piece by saying I love Twitter. Maybe not as much as I love my wife, or baseball, or even a good burger, but I enjoy the opportunities Twitter provides: learning about people through discussion, learning about brands, getting information that I normally wouldn’t think to research, etc.

However, Twitter is also a great study in human behavior, as Twitter is just a microcosm of our society whereby the cliques that form on Twitter are for the most part the same cliques that are found in high schools. This has become more evident since the passing of John Hughes. As I watched my Twitter stream recite quotes from his coming-of-age films, I started to view Twitter as nothing but a social media breakfast club. In fact, I’m writing a post on a blog called: PR BREAKFAST CLUB for crying out loud!

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