There’s something to be said for experience. For that matter, there’s something to be said for age.

There comes a time for most of us in which we realize that we’ve already considered the current topic. We realize that we’ve come to some conclusions. We realize that there’s no new evidence to change our conclusions.

I think this is why older people are considered by younger people to be so set in their ways.

The older people have already considered whether a particular behavior is supportive or enabling. They’ve already determined that shorter-term investments come with higher volatility than longer-term investments. They’ve already determined that bad advertising concepts can’t be saved by creativity.

And I, it appears, have become one of those crotchety old advertising people.

I’m no longer willing to give the benefit of the doubt to lame ideas that, although they won’t go away, have never proven to be of value to any company, anywhere.

Like this one: “The Olympics, the political conventions, the elections, leap day, the landing on Mars and some exciting anniversaries give advertisers lots of potential themes in 2008.

The author goes on to list such door-busting themes as:

Feb. 18: Presidents’ Day
May 25: Indianapolis 500.
Aug. 8-24: The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

I won’t be reserving judgment on this one. These are bad ideas.

But the sad point of this list? Somebody will attempt to use these.

Some office supply store will offer a “200 Meter Freestyle” printer ink discount. Some family restaurant will offer a “Team America” platter. Some car dealer will hold a “Gold, Silver, or Bronze” sale.

By association, these people may get some weak attention.


Regardless, its dangerous to assume that people interested in the original event have any interest in what you have to offer. And if they do, they need to associate you as the solution to the problem they’re trying to solve.

  • What’s your positioning statement? “We know that you’re interested in the Olympics. Unfortunately, we’re not them.
  • And the shelf life of these ads is, at best, only days. Once the event is finished, so is the entire budget you’ve spent on it.
  • Then there’s the problem of trying to get your ad to cut through the clutter of all of those other companies doing Gold, Silver, and Bronze sales.
  • Conclusion: Don’t waste your money trying to piggyback on someone else’s theme. Invest your money, instead, in getting your unique message into the minds of people who are interested in what you offer.

    Chuck McKay is a marketing consultant who works with professional practices and owner operated businesses. Questions about advertising themes may be directed to