Does Stupid Advertising Really Work?

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As I drive to work, an hour each way, I listen to stupid advertising whether I like it or not.

It makes me wonder if stupid advertising works or not. My wife says that it’s memorable but doesn’t make her want to buy anything. So let’s take a deeper look at the psychology of stupid advertising.

The first thing I wondered about was, “Do these businesses know their ads are annoying, or do they really think they are actually good”? The former would be smart and the latter just makes me sad.

I saw a story about a really stupid lawyer ad on YouTube and read the story. The recent graduate set out to make a stupid video, making fun of the current stupid lawyer ads we see on TV. So, he did it and, to his amazement, it worked! His video went viral and he got tons of business from it. Now, this guy did it right. He went above and beyond the usual annoying antics on purpose.

In fact, many of the stupid advertising I see is for accident lawyers, used cars, guns & ammo, carpet cleaning, building supplies and the like. So, this taught me that stupid advertising works when the prospective audience will respond correctly. However, if the ad is for a CPA, investment adviser, psychologists, etc. I don’t think it would work the same.

Or would it?

Time out…let’s talk about social media for a minute. Serious business advertising really doesn’t work on social media. For things to be shareable, they need to elicit an emotion. Social media posts need to make the reader say, “awwww, oooooo, OMG, boo hoo, or DANG!”. A serious business could advertise on social media with something on the fringe, slightly goofy or fun without going too far. That may make their ad more shareable. Nobody will share something serious unless its sweet, or mushy. Perhaps more serious businesses should focus more on tugging at heart-strings and stay far away from stupid, goofy, annoying, etc. After all, you don’t want to hire a CPA if he acts like an idiot in his ads.

So, explore the fringe. Create something fun and lighthearted, or deep and mushy. Think Hallmark. Do something different and make yourself stand out. Give it a try. Your prospective clients are people too.

February 1, 2018 |

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