When I open a middling bottle of red wine, I can enjoy it.  It is wine and it is good.  I am okay with that.

Sure, if I open a bottle of Premier Grand Cru or an old California estate bottled cabernet, I know that they are much better.  But to me, they are not five or ten or more times better so not worth the tremendously higher price.

I imagine the poor wine connoisseur who, once bitten by the quality of great wine, cannot settle for anything but the best.  The same with connoisseurs of other things like food or great music.  Addicted to quality at any cost.

Or as Bob Dylan put it:

Who eats but is not satisfied;
Who hears but does not see

I am like that with advertising.

And it is thrown in my face every day; I see it from every direction every day.  Theory has it that we are exposed to thousands of ads a day.  In 2006, Yankelovich, a market research firm, estimated that a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 in 2006.  The number must be even higher today as advertising penetrates the internet giving birth to the current cacophony of messages that pummel us.

Unlike most people, I have spent most of my working life making and studying the stuff.  I get upset with bad advertising.

I have many times more than the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell says are required to make me an expert.  And, beyond just the time spent, I have always had a keen interest in studying communications, advertising and persuasion.

My awareness and knowledge drive me crazy.

Every commercial I see, I immediately and intuitively analyze and critique in a blink – but not in the way most people do.

I find the average person and most journalists who evaluate advertising judge a commercial solely on its entertainment value – a minor consideration of many factors for me.

For me the criteria are:

  1. Is it provocative and engaging?
  2. Is the message clear?
  3. Do I understand who is advertising and why?
  4. Is the message persuasive?
  5. Would I watch it again?  Is it likable?

Few commercials meet all these criteria.  And entertaining is not on the list.

As a connoisseur of advertising I am continually tortured by these simulated ads. They look like commercials; they talk like commercials; but, they don’t work like commercials.

The same way my kid’s artwork looks like artwork.  To me it is priceless; but no one else will pay a million dollars for it.

No wonder the industry has lost a lot of its strength from the days of Mad Men.  (But, I am glad we stopped smoking).

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