Wednesday, 16 July 2008


It stands out among the many fine examples of the Worst Advertising In The World to be enjoyed on Dubai’s radio stations, in particular Dubai ‘News Talk Sport’ Eye, where I am occasionally forced to turn off the radio to avoid it. It certainly takes my personal nomination for the Year’s Worst Radio Ad. It’s the RTA ‘dummy’ ad. Remember? It’s the dialogue in a car between AUB American accent and the robotic voice supposed to sound like a crash test dummy... it goes something like this:

“Hey dummy, watch out for that reticulated marmoset!”
“It’s fine.”
“Hey dummy, watch out for the syllogistical conclusion!”
“It’s fine.”
“Hey dummy, watch out for the red light!”
“Oh no! Its fine, it's fine, it's fine! Now that’s a whole lot of fines!”
VO: “He’s a dummy but you’re not....”

Who wrote that? What type of dim-witted, addle-pated, misbegotten son of a retarded jack-ass actually wrote that as a creative execution designed to communicate a message? And what message was it supposed to get across in the first place? Worse, what idiot of an account director didn’t strangle the creative at birth? And what kind of client would actually approve that as an awareness campaign ad?

Oh. The RTA. I understand everything now.

Look, the whole point of communication in the modern world is that consumers are less and less likely to buy this kind of advertising. We’re in the Internet age – as consumers, we’re in the driving seat. We know what we want and when we want it. Like now. People are more cynical than ever before: we know that eating your product or drinking your drink won’t make us sexually attractive to hordes of lascivious Lolitas. We’re more likely to know about the calorific content of it and the child labour being used to produce it than any other generation before us. We’re not, in short, idiots.

Similarly, I think we can all take it for granted that we know that driving dangerously is a bad thing. We, residents, probably all know that a new points system has been introduced to punish bad driving. I think the vast majority of us think that, fairly and evenly implemented, that this is a very good idea indeed. But I would suspect that few of us know much more than that – how many points before you lose your license, how points are accumulated, how long they remain on your license. I, for one, am unclear on the actual rules. And this stupid advertisement does nothing to make it any clearer for me. It just annoys me.

I don’t want the creative execution – particularly not when it’s so awfully, irredeemably piss poor, but in any case not when it’s taking the place of clear, straightforward communication of the facts that consumers actually do want.

This is the age of the communicator – an age when it has never been more important to say what you want clearly, succinctly and in a timely fashion. There are powerful tools that let you do that, not least of which are the Internet and the ‘social media’ that are driving such a rapid pace of change in human behaviour right now.

All I want from that 30 seconds of airtime is to know what’s going to affect me and how – and ideally a link to a website where I can find out more information if I want to. That's what an awareness campaign IS in today's world.

By the way, do have a look at the RTA website and see if you can find any information about the blasted points system that they're spending good money 'building awareness' of, but which they can't be bothered to highlight on their website.

And just in case the clots behind the Dubai Water and Electricity advertisement are laughing at the RTA, you lot are even worse. I really don’t need some soapy-voiced nerd talking over a background of whiny, soppy faux-pastoral muzak telling me that there’s a team of people working to bring me ‘enabling’ power. I think I can work that out for myself, you dimwits.

There. That’s much better, thank you!


DXBluey said...

Alexander... it's fine...

And another one... the one currently about Time Square's summer surprise offers. Some random person states that it's my last day on earth today. But then says but I decided to stay for the Time Square offers.

Who is this person? Why would it be your last day on Earth - are you dying? Or you seem to have the choice to decide to stay on Earth - are you an alien? A God? WHAT ARE YOU?

Tainted Female said...

LOL... But you have to admit.. it gives you reason to smile.. over, and over, and over again.

Tainted Female said...

BTW.. I love your blog.. have only recently started reading.. but like what I've seen so far.

alexander... said...

DB. "It's fine..." Grrr.

TF. Tanks!

the real nick said...

We’re not, in short, idiots.

What about Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors? And she is, err, was, in Media. 'Nuff said.

Mikey said...

you can find the black points on the Dubai government website homepage under important links.

Seabee said...

I couldn't agree more. Do you, like me, give a hollow laugh whenever you hear people in the business lauding Dubai's advertising creativity? Which they do with nauseating regularity.

A fraction of it is marginally better than dreadful, the radio ads are generally as bad as advertising can get.

Seabee said...


Tainted, good to see you back :-)

From The Dungeons

Book Marketing And McNabb's Theory Of Multitouch

(Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I clearly want to tell the world about A Decent Bomber . This is perfectly natural, it's my latest...