Does obnoxious sell?


fcd79a31f464e03790eb365e702b006dThe vast majority of radio and TV commercials are so bland that they never, ever connect with me. Then, there are the precious few that do strike a chord (Think: Allstate’s Mayhem character). A few other spots, though, are so brutally painful that I wonder how, in god’s name, they generate sales.

The first features Toyota’s dealership diva, Jan. As you may recall, Jan began her Toyota gig as a meek, mild receptionist at an undisclosed dealership who would politely answer one or two questions. (FYI: In the interests of transparency, my firm represents MINI).

Now, though, she’s metamorphosed into a primping and patronizing, song-and-dance solutions provider. I never thought an ad agency could conjure up a more obnoxious company spokeswoman than Progressive Insurance’s Flo but Toyota’s done just that with Jan.

I initially heard the world’s second most obnoxious ad on a local radio station. Listening to the Kars4Kids spot was akin to hearing someone scratch her fingernails on chalkboard (and, cause instant road rage in the process). The TV spot is even worse. How do these not-so-cute, not-so-talented kids actually inspire people to donate their cars? If anything, I could see the spot triggering a drive-by shooting (I jest).

And, yet, neither Jan nor the Kids would be airing if they weren’t driving bottom-line sales. So, I guess obnoxious does indeed sell.

What’s your POV? Do you have other spots that make you cringe? Please share (and, the more obnoxious, the better).

2 thoughts on “Does obnoxious sell?

  1. As someone who usually loves commercials, ESPECIALLY cleaning product ones, I have to say I agree. Whenever Jan, Flo or Kars4Kids comes on the tube, I immediately switch the station. Whatever happened to the amazing Mentos commercials? Now THAT was a great commercial!! Mentos, the freshmaker 🙂

    • To be honest, when I read the headline I thought it was going to be about Donald Trump. Made me look!

      I am able to avoid most TV ads. I do get bombarded listening to radio traffic/weather reports. Kars4Kids is a big offender, but so are gold exchanges, auto dealerships, life insurance, car insurance, hearing aids, stair lifts or anything aimed at seniors. On TV, I do see the workout equipment, juicers, slicers and dicers and everything else of that nature running on the nostalgia channels are cheesy and awful.

      Until the digital age, everything I’d heard or read about mass advertising said the same thing — deny it all you want, but repetition and obnoxious sells. They don’t win awards at Cannes Lions, but they pay the bills. Obviously things are changing, but that model remains profitable. P.T. Barnum had a lot of people pegged.