This is an excellent internet advertisement for ClassesUSA that I tripped over recently. It does all the things an advertisement should do, and it does them well. I know this because for many years I worked in advertising.
RULE #1: A good ad always mentions that the president wants you to do something.
Everyone loves a president, except for roughly half of the population who did not vote for him. But for the ones who did? They love when the president tells them what he wants them to do. With the exception, I suppose, of those folks who don’t like political figures telling them what to do.
RULE #2: A good ad targets people other than you.
I personally love it when an ad targets someone other than the person looking at it. It makes me feel good to know there are other people in the world who are different than I am, and I enjoy seeing ads directed at them. In this case, the ad is targeting child-bearing moms who are receptive to President Obama wanting them to buy an arguably worthless college degree from a meagerly accredited, shady online university.
It’s odd because the advertiser is owned by Experian, the corporate behemoth that tracks all of us and our credit histories. They could probably very easily discern who I am and everything about me by looking at their vast electronic library of stored information. Instead they show me an ad targeting under-educated, subservient moms. Kudos.
RULE #3: A good ad has a picture of a freakish Charles Manson type who has absolutely nothing to do with the headline.
Obama wants moms to go back to school? Homeless man mugshot. It makes perfect sense to me. You might expect to see a photo of a mom. Or a woman of some sort, anyway. Someone who might tie in to the headline. No way. This is a good ad, and a good ad doesn’t bother with that. A good ad wants you to go, “What the hell?” as you look at a what could easily be a pedophile’s mugshot.
So there you have it. A brilliant ad concocted by marketing geniuses somewhere out there in the vast Internet. Or maybe in Boise, at some marketing firm located in a step-mom’s basement. It makes me want to get back into advertising.
Bonus points for the mouse-type at the bottom. It’s a legal disclaimer for a testimonial that’s not actually in the ad.