advertising insight into an america without a soul

It seems like every time I am in a briefing where a planner tells the team that we have to be careful not to underestimate the consumer, I go back to my desk and happen upon an article like this. And then I laugh to myself. Because it is impossible to underestimate the consumer.

Let’s break this down:

“It’s true. You can get paid to drive your own car – whether to work, to church, to your kids’ soccer games or any of your other normal destinations.”

All you have to do is send $24.99 and we will send you the brochure and DVD that tell you how! So call now.

“You won’t get rich doing this mind you, but in these recessionary times, taking in an extra $300 to $900 a month can definitely come in handy for a lot of folks.”

All from the comfort of your own car! So call now.

“These “brand driver” promotions are run by a special segment of the advertising industry”

That very same segment that makes most people want to physically assault said advertising industry.

“that pays regular people to affix vinyl decals to their cars – decals that, at first glance, appear to be painted on the vehicle.”

And at second glance, the decals appear to make the driver look like a douchebag.

“The “wrap” may have a message, like the “Follow Me to Find Out How to Get to the Closest I-Hop” wrap used by one company for its client, the International House of Pancakes.”

But that is only on the surface. Below the surface it says “I am a pathetic loser who would have passed on the thirty pieces of silver for a Pharisees branded t-shirt.”

“Free Car Media generally pays its drivers anywhere from $700 to $900 a month, and typically requires the driver to log about 1,000 miles a month, depending on the city.”

And people actually do this. Seriously. This is a new story I am commenting on. It is 100% real.

Please hold your weeping for the future until the close of the post.

“Some of the Free Car Media clients / brands whose logos have adorned cars are Proctor & Gamble, Coke, Tang, Lacoste and the Vault energy drink.

“Plus, we did one for Curly’s (a pulled-pork product sold in grocery stores), a campaign that targeted moms and kids, so our drivers had coupons with ‘em for the product,” he said. “Many of the drivers maintained blogs that informed potential customers about the product.””

Which made it easy for the devil, who just traced their IP address when it came time to pick up their souls.

“While many of the drivers are stay-at-home moms or working people who need the extra cash, others want to have their cars wrapped just because they have a strong feeling about the product.”

Ladies and gentleman, modern America. A place where people actively seek out opportunities to associate themselves with brands because, apparently, their lives are empty enough for that to seem fulfilling.

“Of course, in addition to being a way for everyday folks to make a few extra dollars, an auto-wrap program is also an effective method to get an advertiser’s image and message out there – in a way that’s more personal than a TV ad or billboard.”

Say the two owners of auto-wrap companies that the reporter interviewed for the story. So yeah, you could say that the above statement is pretty factual.

“Companies like ours are unique – we’re not doing what everyone else does – we don’t compete against traditional media.”

We just compete against the other companies mentioned in this article. And the devil. We’re really in the soul-stealing business. But besides that being centuries old and this article quoting numerous competitors, I would say that auto-wrap companies are pretty unique.

And this whole story is pretty sad.

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