The Esperanto of Bad Ideas

Great ideas travel far and fast.  Unfortunately, so do awful ones.  Today, with the onset of Negative Media–consumer driven backlash empowered by Web 2.0–advertising ideas that fall into that unfortunate latter category are no longer even limited by geography.

Witness these two screen grabs from recent-ish ads for Enterprise Car Rental.  I’ve been frustrated with this advertiser for years, for the reason you see in the vidcaps.  Inevitably, their ad opens on a helpless woman who stands in a car repair shop beneath a large white sign with two foot high black letters that spell out “Repair Shop.”

Now I’ve liked cars for a long time, and bought my first one long before I could buy anything decent, so I have spent a decent amount of time with mechanics.  And in over three decades of driving, I’ve never seen a sign like that hanging from the rafters of a garage.  It is there solely because the advertiser considers us to be mouth-breathing morons, incapable of recognizing the location, despite the steaming engines and hydraulic lifts.  I bet this inanity first started as a super placed over a badly-drawn animatic frame the client sent into testing.  Then, when the piece received an acceptable action score, an overzealous brand manager insisted that the commercial match the animatic exactly, right down to the pasted-in super.  Like so many other offensively idiotic ideas, this foolishness has a stubborn staying power, kind of like “American Idol.”

So I thought I’d air my little grievance with this brand on the blog.  Remarkably, despite these hyper-documented times, I couldn’t find a video copy of any of the Enterprise spots on the web.  That might indicate that even the advertiser realizes their ads amount to little more than blights on the culture, but probably not.  However, in searching, I stumbled across this Enterprise ad from the United Kingdom.

As you can see, idiocy speaks an international language, albeit with localized spelling.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


3 thoughts on “The Esperanto of Bad Ideas

  1. RTB says:

    I keep thinking that someday these commercials might make the turn to some form of absurdist comedy–like Mentos did in the ’90s. They never do, though.

    Also idiotic are the endings of the spots with a car, completely wrapped in plain brown paper like some weird vehicular porn, rolls down the road. Go figure. I guess testing liked it. That should tell you something about testing.

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