I Call it Nickelback Advertising
Ever seen advertising so bad that you want to beat it up but you can’t because it’s advertising and it can’t fight back because it has no fists, no weapons and it’s not really alive so why bother?
I call that Nickelback advertising because every time I hear a song by that band , I want to beat it up. But I can’t because it only a song and it can’t really fight back for all the reasons I just described.
Here’s where I need help. How do I tell people at my agency when they create a Nickelback ad? My first instinct is to beat them up. But I can’t because most creatives aren’t very strong and they’ve got laws and I could get fired. It’s so hard to beat people up these days. Hard to beat stuff up too.
A couple of agencies ago, a team created a Nickelback campaign. They asked me what I thought of it and I was too much of a pussy to express my hatred. Instead, I complemented them on their grammar and figured the creative director would stop their crap since that was his job. But, no—he didn’t. He kept the suckyness alive. So I figured the brass would stomp all over it once they saw the combination of puns and words that conveniently rhymed. But, they didn’t either. Instead, they almost applauded. And so did the client.
They tried entering the Nickelback campaign in awards shows. It didn’t win shit. The team, agency and client all blamed the judges while making up some conspiracy theory about the local addys being rigged. Yes, they believed the LOCAL ADDYS WERE RIGGED.
Internally, everyone liked it. In the real world, it was shit. Internally, everyone was too close the the project. Strategically right on. Creatively, its mediocrity could not even make a blip at the local addys.
And I could have prevented it.
From now on, when I see a Nickelback ad being produced in an agency I’m working for, I feel I have an obligation to stop it. If it gets me fired, so what? I’ve been fired before. Actually, I haven’t. I’ve been laid off—big difference.
Don’t feel too bad Nickelback. I hate the music of Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tom Petty and Eric Clapton just as much as yours. So what the fuck do I know?
- John Huggins