Monday, May 28, 2007

Anticipate This?

In Saturday's NY Times there was an article about how Heinz Ketchup- among other companies- is sponsoring a TV commercial competition on You Tube. The winner will be paid $57,000 and have his commercial air on television. Any one who has read this page more than once knows my feelings about You Tube and the trend of discounting creative filmmaking. While I understand why Heinz is thrilled- the p.r. alone, plus there have been 12,000 hits on You Tube for these spots- it is slowly (quickly?) killing the business.

There are thousands of people across the country who count on the commercial TV business to earn all or part of their living. Here's just a few: the ad agency employees- top to bottom, and you know the first to get canned will not be a six-figure creative director- actors, casting directors, schlubs like me who own production companies and all the people we hire to produce a commercial.

If I was one of my students I would race out and make the best damn Heinz spot I could. But what about my ilk? I can think of nothing more than changing ketchup brands. Anyone for Hunt's Ketchup on your Memorial Day burger? Muir Glen Organic?

Here's the link, read it and weep. You can find the You Tube spots on your own.



Layla (aka Barbara) said...

I can understand why this bothers you so much. As much as I love the Internet, there are a lot of negative side effects for certain types of business, its sad.

mrliteral said...

Anytime I see a contest like this, the winning entry invariably turns out to be just as stupid, pandering, offensive, pointless, or downright bad as whatever the ad agency might have come up with on their own and found someone with experience to produce despite how lousy it clearly would turn out to be, thanks to the people signing the checks. So the results are the same, but those with proper knowledge and skill get shafted in favor of someone fast and cheap. It's a sickness, really; why pay more for better when you can pay less for good enough?

PeterH said...

I think you hit it on the head when you said why pay more for better when you can pay less for good enough. The argument that the ad agency's junior copywriter has a family to care for doesn't hold water.


mrliteral said...

Here's another writer's opinion:

"A typical instance of the rising power of the masses - the open arrogance of the inferior who no longer try to imitate their superiors, but boldly flaunt their inferiority, their averageness, their 'popular appeal'. A state of affairs where quality is no longer of any importance, and where it is coming to be shunned, avoided, even despised. Quantity alone considered important - quality no longer even considered. The masses triumphant."

- from Ayn Rand's pre-draft notes on The Fountainhead, dated June 4, 1937. 70 years ago next week, and she's right on the money.