Here’s a follow-up about Cartoon Network’s inept campaign to publicize Aqua Teen Hunger Force. See the video on the right of the page. Some more pictures would really help us to understand the nature of the “devices” scattered around Boston, but from what I can tell, they appear to be a computer keyboard and a Lite Brite showing Err (one of the Mooninites).
I think Cartoon Network may be learning the danger of trying something like this with a character that is not known to the general public. Let’s face it, if the police found a Lite Brite with Daffy Duck on it, they wouldn’t think it was a terrorist plot.
If you also don’t know what the Mooninites are, here are examples.
Actually, Inept isn’t the right word for the campaign, because an hour ago I had no idea there was going to be an Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie in theaters and now I know about it. This post is late because I’ve been going back and forth over posting it for just that reason. I feel like I’m assisting scalawags.
One of the most frustrating parts of working in advertising (as I did from 1994-1996) was the mentality that an advertisement wasn’t bad if you remembered what they were advertising. As we had our radio station on in the sales offices, I’d hear bad ads and get them stuck in my head, and when I kvetched to the sales staff about how I could not get that irritating Kay Jewelers spot from running over and over in my head the salesman would beam about how it was a successful ad because I remembered the client’s store name. It didn’t matter to him that it was the most schmaltzy stupid ad and I hated the client and would never shop there just because I couldn’t escape the stupid jingle.
In the late 1990s Old Navy was running the most irritatingly awful ads with the Jeffersons, Morgan Fairchild, Magic the dog, Fran Drescher, a monkey, L’il Kim, Josh Holloway (yes, Sawyer on “Lost”), and some old woman in glasses who is the spitting image of Stan Freberg. The point was to catch your eye with cameos…well, they can’t really be called cameos…and then infect your brain with inescapable jingles. I vowed then and there to never ever buy an Old Navy product. I don’t care that they’ve gone on to different ad campaigns; they must suffer because I had to suffer through “Old Navy! Old Navy! Old Navy Performance FLEECE!!” I can’t see their logo without that jingle starting to scream in my brain again, so I couldn’t possibly go into their store.
And I bet if any Old Navy ad person reads my post he’ll say, “It worked!” It doesn’t matter if I want to run screaming from the room jamming knives into my hand to distract me from the pain of the advertisement being on TV; he’ll consider it a successful spot because I recognized the Old Navy brand.
My point is, Cartoon Network is apologizing…but unless there’s a massive financial penalty paid for this stunt, there’s no way you’ll convince their marketing executives that this wasn’t a great idea.