October 13, 2010

Stop trying to pretend you know me

At some point during in Advertising 101, they must preach it from the pulpit loud and long: If you want to get someone's attention, hit 'em where they live. Go local.

It makes sense. As Big Brother-y as it can feel at times, I sort of like that sites I visit on a regular basis know my preferences well enough to recommend things I'd like. And while it doesn't always follow that ALL people from a certain region will be interested in the same things, it makes more sense to show me, an Ohioan, an ad for a leaf-blower than, say, alligator repellent.

(Disclaimer: I have no idea if there is such a thing as alligator repellent. It sounds sort of fake, like snipe hunting.)

But when did companies start simply inserting the name of your town or state in every ad, regardless of whether or not it makes sense?

Really? Did she? Is that mom even from Ohio? Or does her face also appear next to the Nebraska and Vermont ads? Because she and her cute little baby are just part of a stock photo suite, and that probably isn't even her kid, because she looks about 12?

(And why the ridiculously-specific (and yet devoid of a comma) dollar amount?)

And I hate the ones that mention the specific town even more:

"A woman from {Your Hometown} discovered the secret to better abs -- with NO WORKING OUT!"

"A {Your Hometown} father discovered the cure for chlamydia -- right in his backyard!"

Hm. Really? Our town is a teeny village surrounded by almost nothing but farmland and trees. You're telling me I could be shopping at Kroger next to the woman who figured out how to get a six-pack without exercise? Someone figured out how to use dandelions to cure venereal disease? Because that's all that's growing in backyards around here.

Advertisers: Stop trying to bond with me. I see through your little charade, and I remain unimpressed.

(Oh, and I don't have chlamydia. Just in case you were worried.)

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