So in first place on the list of “worst current commercial campaigns” has to be the Holiday Inn ads with the three blond guys making fools of themselves, right? What exactly is the message that Holiday Inn is trying to send here?
- “Only dorks stay at our hotels.”
- “If you don’t want to talk to people like these guys, stay somewhere else.”
- “Holiday Inn: We’ll make you uncomfortable in every sense of the word.”
Avis did something like this a few years ago, albeit not quite as bad, with their campaign “What if we didn’t try harder?” After which, you’d get 15-20 seconds of a customer having a very bad experience at an Avis rental car outlet.
Marketing and advertising are certainly inexact sciences, but to me, a good ad should have two or three things: recall, a positive message about the brand or product, and perhaps a call to action depending on what the commercial is advertising. The worst ads have great recall but leave the viewer with a very negative impression of the brand or product. The Holiday Inn ads are unmistakable – as soon as I see any of those three idiots on the screen, I’m flying for the remote – and they’ve made it clear to me that Holiday Inn is the antithesis of cool. And yet these ads have been running for over a year, and I’m sure we’ll be inundated with them again in the playoffs. Good luck cleaning up that brand image after you’ve spent a year and a half defecating all over it.