Jan 18, 2007

Dancing Cowboys

I love being right ;)

The other day on George Parker’s Madscam blog, we were debating the effectiveness of online advertising and I’d explained to the masses (okay, Marino and Pali and Drentzel) that despite how ridiculous we found spam and cheesy DM banners, they were clearly effective, otherwise the companies that perpetrated them on us wouldn’t keep doing so.

So in today’s New York Times, there’s an article about one of the more egregious examples of banner spam: those ridiculous dancing figures from lowermybills.com, one of the web’s more persistent advertisers.

The article is both hilarious and eye-opening, in that we learn the figures were created by some (rather attractive) dancer-cum-graphic designer who worked for the company in-house, and that the map and select-your-state feature were added because they’d read some sort of pamphlet about how to create effective online advertising.

The success of lowermybills.com (they were recently bought out for an extremely large amount of money) just illustrates one of the Great Paradoxes of Advertising: a really bad, really annoying ad can be every bit as effective as a really good one. Perhaps even more so. Remember Crazy Eddie? He had greater name recognition than the president. Is there anyone in the NYC metro area who can’t repeat the chant “Autoland! Autoland! 1-800-Autoland!”

Now granted you need a suitable product for Badvertising™ to work. Cheap used cars, discount electronics, refinanced loans: that all works. Higher end or lifestyle stuff wouldn’t.

And think of how much time we’d save if we could get all our ideas out of brochure. Instead of an awards show book.


Alan Wolk said...

Companies of this sort tend to thrive on volume-- the more people they get clicking, the more likely it is one of them will buy. Certain types of businesses lend themselves to the schlocky, low-rent image.

What's interesting though is that lowermybills.com actually does business with Citibank and other reputable institutions.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, low-cost, low-image products and services can get away with it.

Is there anyone in SoCal of a certain age who doesn't remember:

"Pete Ellis Dodge, Long Beach Freeway, Firestone Exit, Southgate...Pete Ellis Dodge, Long Beach Freeway, Firestone Exit, SouthGATE."

Or, "Go see Cal go see Cal, go see Cal."