I was going to write something profound about last week’s holy smackdown of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq. But then, over the weekend, I saw a commercial – several times – that reminded me that there are myriad types of evil in this world. Some is extremist, terrorist evil. The kind of evil with which I am, fortunately, only acquainted with from a distance. Another kind of evil is stores who refuse to wish me “Merry Christmas” as they gladly take my MasterCard. Of course, as you may have guessed, another, sinister form of evil is Client Mandated Advertising. And I saw its archangel this weekend.

Get thee behind me, Verizon Business! Thou spawn of hacks and sycophants! The power of Postaer compels you!

What we have in this Verizon Business spot is a checklist of what not to do in an ad:

1. Montage of smiling jackasses
2. Smiling jackasses looking confident
3. Smiling jackasses looking confident as they point at computers
4. Smiling jackasses looking confident as they remove their glasses and point at computers
5. Smiling jackasses looking confident while shaking hands in front of computers
6. Michael MacDonald singing “I’ll Be There”
7. Unnecessary celebrity voice over by Kieffer Sutherland
8. Vague promises of support and expertise
9. Smiling jackasses running for the subway without spilling their double half-calf soy mochas
10. Marcus “Respect and Obey My Manifesto!” Nispel directing hordes of smiling jackasses

I know what the client was thinking: “We need to show and tell customers, repeatedly, just how serious we are about being their Global Business Telecom Solutions Provider! By gumption, we’re the best doggone GBTSP out there! Get Jack Bauer on the phone!” The agency, seeing a juicy media commission and a nice production budget (multiple smiling jackasses ain’t cheap), reasoned, “Well, they’re already letting us do that Lion-quality ”˜Can You Hear Me Now?’ campaign, so let’s throw ”˜em a bone on this one. Gotta pick your battles, after all!” And then jackassery ensued.

The point is this (since I haven’t really made one yet): In an effort to play it safe, the client and agency spent millions of dollars producing and airing pabulum. Creating exactly the thing they wished to avoid – an ineffective spot that irritates without informing.

Kind of like this blog.



P.S. Happy birthday, mom!

P.P.S. If anyone has this spot or a link to it, please email me. I couldn’t find it myself.