Do Clownish Ads Work?
Advertising 101—a private seminar for Brad Emmett, Sal DeVito, Ellis Verdi and other perpetrators at Legal Sea Foods’ New York Agency
NEW YORK, June 11 , PR Newswire — Brad Emmett, a former art director at DeVito/Verdi who has become one of the most acclaimed creative talents in advertising, has returned to the New York-based ad agency as creative director, it was announced by Sal DeVito, executive creative director of DeVito/Verdi.
“We Search for Truth,” crows the DeVito/Verdi Web site. “Our philosophy is based on a view that our job is to capture a truth either about the product or the consumer that will resonate. What works, and we have proven it time and time again with all of our clients, is the need to find and hit a consumer nerve that resonates as valuable, truthful and unforgettable.”
“Valuable?” “Truthful?” “Unforgettable?”
Advertising is aimed at two groups of people: existing customers and prospects.
“This trolley gets around more than your sister,” in a balloon coming out of a fish’s mouth is not going to remind regular patrons that a memorable dining experience awaits them at Legal Sea Foods.
This kind of clowning by the DeVito/Verdi agency is what you find in London, where smartypants creatives practice what I call non-sequitur advertising. Copywriters are hoping to force the reader/viewer to connect puzzling dots, which means the product or service is lost in a blizzard of cleverness.
“This conductor has a face like a halibut,” will emphatically not introduce strangers to the joys of Legal Sea Foods.
“They’re cute ads,” Legal Sea Foods owner Roger Berkowitz told Michael Levenson of The Boston Globe. “It’s hard to conceive of anyone being insulted by them, truly insulted by them, because it’s coming out of the mouth of a fish and it’s really tongue-in-cheek. For anyone to take it personally, I’d have to sit there scratching my head.”