Tag Archives: ridicule

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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Before You Ridicule Each Other, Think of Helping Others

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I should probably start this post by noting that I’m an eternal optimist . . . I look at the bright side of practically everything, so if that isn’t your style, you may just want to skip this post. OK, that’s out of the way, here we go!
Maybe it’s the “dog days” of summer still, or the fact that we’re still mired in a major recession that has everyone in a tizzy and seemingly at each other’s throats in the PR business when almost every minor situation that arises. Accidentally blast out an e-mail to thousands of people and forget to use the very helpful—but often misused—BCC function? Boom! You’re facing at least a week of full-on ridicule from your own brethren.  For many of us, it can get to be a bit too much sometimes.
I know for myself, I didn’t get into this business to ridicule colleagues. I actually want to see others in this business succeed, so when a big—or little—slipup happens, I usually try to give my quick two cents, offer some advice on how to move on, and generally stay out of the situation. By no means am I perfect, and I will be the first to admit that I am still eagerly learning as much as I can about PR (I come from a sport management background), so to me, I’d rather focus on the positives.
And that’s really the point of this whole post: We—the collective whole of the PR industry—have SO much good to offer, both to clients and our employers, that it really does not make a lot of sense, nor help at all, to constantly ridicule each other’s mistakes. And we’re awful about this. There is a sector of this business that almost seems to find amusement in ridiculing each other. How exactly that is helping to advance our business is beyond me.
It’s also a whole hell of a lot of wasted time and energy, and in a recession, can we really afford to waste either?
For me, I got into this business because I love to help others. Now working on the client side after five years working in college athletic media relations, my great thrill and enjoyment is finding a way to help the overall business efforts of my clients. Even if it is as simple as helping a client reach 10 more influential customers one week, then I’m ecstatic because I have helped someone beyond just myself.
Folks, we work in a service industry and, therefore, our top priority (at least in my opinion) should be focused on how we can help others. If you’re on the agency side, it’s how can you help your clients’ business. If you’re an internal PR person, it’s how can you help your organization best reach its customers and target audiences, and, more so now through social media, how can you drive customer engagement efforts. In short, think about how much good we can do for others when we truly focus our energies on doing just that, rather than constantly looking for the next 140-character zinger to tweet about.
So now I ask you: Why did you get into PR? What’s your favorite part of the business? What has you jazzed and excited to work every day?

I should probably start this post by noting that I’m an eternal optimist . . . I look at the bright side of practically everything, so if that isn’t your style, you may just want to skip this post. OK, that’s out of the way, here we go!PBJ

Maybe it’s the “dog days” of summer still, or the fact that we’re still mired in a major recession that has everyone in a tizzy and seemingly at each other’s throats in the PR business when almost every minor situation that arises. Accidentally blast out an e-mail to thousands of people and forget to use the very helpful—but often misused—BCC function? Boom! You’re facing at least a week of full-on ridicule from your own brethren.  For many of us, it can get to be a bit too much sometimes.

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