May 15, 2009

U.S. ads move over to the dark side

A growing number of U.S. companies are attempting to match the public mood with angry advertisements, a marketing executive said.

You need to walk in the shoes of the average consumers today, said Marc Brownstein, president and chief executive officer of Brownstein Group.

They're a little beat up and their wallets are lighter, and the people they trusted stole from them, Brownstein told The New York Times Friday.

In one ad, low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways sneeringly welcomes corporate executives on board after they were forced to fly commercial due to the grounding of corporate jets. An ad for Harley Davidson refers to the stink and greed of billion-dollar bankruptcies, which felt like something that needed to be said, said Chief Creative Officer Jim Nelson at Carmichael Lynch, where the ad was written.

Famous for promoting those puppy- and child-filled Kodak moments, Eastman Kodak Co. is airing an ad that describes high prices for computer ink as a $5 billion stain on the economy.

A departure for us, Kodak's Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Hayzlett said.

A Post Shredded Wheat commercial says progress is overrated. A Miller High Life commercial features an employee pulling beer from vendors' shelves due to over-pricing.

These days, Candor is in, Brownstein said.