I was taught by one boss NEVER to put a negative image in an ad. I was working in foods at the time, so he said no insects, no animals (especially cows, as this was a dairy food, and he thought cows come from smelly farms), no men with beards, the list went on and on.
I was worried our ads would be bland and full of smiling, happy ‘average’ people. Which begs the question – is marketing there to hold a mirror to society as it is, warts and all, or should it try to paint a picture that customers would prefer to see?
Before I get too philosophical, let’s look at an example. Put simply, it’s a dog sniffing the arse of another dog.
This visual left me so cold I didn’t notice the tag lines (“Checked for good friendship. Checked 20 times for good quality”). Let alone the body copy (“Dogs check everything. Just like us”). But if I think about it, it still doesn’t work. I picture Pedigree quality managers sniffing dogs’ arses.
Maybe my boss was right. But I’m not a dog owner. Maybe dog owners find this funny?