Why I hate puns in ads and ghettoization even more

Dan Goldgeier posted the above outdoor board in AdPulp and commented how Lucid is making a push into Los Angeles. The post includes a quote from Lucid’s President and CEOJared Gurfein,

“Since the beginning, absinthe has always had a strong connection to the arts. The goal of this campaign is for Lucid to show the local Los Angeles community – and the spirits industry – that absinthe is successfully growing in America and has earned its place in both the artistic and gastronomic landscape.”

This ad fails for two big reasons.

First, the lame pun spoils absinthe’s iconoclastic image and transforms it into just another spirit in the beverage world. People choose to drink absinthe for the identity it conveys as much if not more than how it tastes. Current absinthe drinkers and other absinthe producers may not appreciate anyone tampering with their once banned, ritualistic drink. It’s as if Captain Morgan, that rapscallion, came in and drew a red mustache on it.

Second, the ad ghettoizes its audience. I once worked with a media buyer from Texas who told me about Cactus Ads. Seems that when some people can’t come up with a concept in Texas, the remedy is to slap a cactus on it. That way Texans will know the company’s Texan. Doesn’t matter what kind of company it is, just slap a cactus on it.

So here’s Lucid thinking how to reach people in Los Angeles. Their solution: a cactus ad equivalent in the form of a bad pun using an old Hollywood cliché, which reduces its audience to a stereotype. Such ads may have worked in the past, but it’s 2011.

Ghettoization in any form is no way to endear people to your brand. Please stop it.

And stop the bad puns, too.

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About Robert Moss

I write ads: traditional, non-traditional, interactive, edutainment, story-based, broadcast, and experiential marketing events. Sometimes I write about ads and the business of advertising. Sometimes I write about other stuff. The views expressed here are solely my own and don't reflect the views of my employers. I also published a novel called Descending Memphis that's getting great reviews on Amazon. see http://www.amazon.com/Descending-Memphis-Robert-R-Moss/dp/0692364226
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