Effective Ads Can Change Your Life
The following are letters soon to be received by the BBDO advertising agency. BBDO recently put up Whiskas cat food advertising billboards in Moscow that are equipped with special chips that meow every 15 seconds.
"March 2, 2001
Dear Sirs: Walking down Novy Arbat the other day, I heard a disturbing meowing noise. It sounded just like my Fluffy whenever I accidentally drop a piece of pinewood IKEA furniture on his paw. The noise was breaking my heart. I looked for the unhappy kitty for about 20 minutes - in the freezing cold, mind you - before I realized the source of the noise was the Whiskas advertising board that you have put up.
I am writing this on behalf of all the cat-lovers who might have been tricked by your disquieting campaign: Please, please take away the painful meowing sound! Sincerely, Lisa Duval"
"Dec. 3, 2002
Dear Sirs: As an animal-lover and a pedestrian, I object to your Marlboro cigarette advertising campaign that has real horses jump out of an advertising board on Novy Arbat every 15 seconds. Don't you realize they block pedestrian traffic? Sincerely, Lisa Duval"
"June 6, 2003
Dear Sirs: This is to inform you that 15 people were injured in a major pileup this morning at the intersection of Novy Arbat and the Garden Ring because of your activities. The steam emitted by your Tefal pressure- cooker advertisement board made it impossible for drivers to see the road - not to mention the pedestrians, some of whom were hospitalized with burns. Please take this billboard down as soon as possible. Concerned, Lisa Duval"
"Feb. 1, 2004
Dear Sirs: You guys are really pushing it now. Walking down Novy Arbat the other day, I found myself surrounded by a herd of cockroaches. They were the kind of elongated, brownish-yellow cockroaches that I sometimes get in my house - although that happens rarely, thank goodness. Did I mention that I have an irrational fear of anything that crawls? Anyway, the cockroaches - hundreds, no, thousands of them - were all rushing, en mass, in my direction, causing me to temporarily lose consciousness from fear. It was when I came to that I saw that flocks of these disgusting beasts were running, a few hundred every 15 seconds, out of the Raid insect spray advertising board that your company has put up. This has to end, dear sirs. This has to end. Outraged, Lisa Duval"
"July 39, 3082
Dear Sirs: Ever since I was kidnapped by the aliens your company hired to advertise Ericsson cellular phones, I've become a different person. I don't care about cockroaches or meowing billboards anymore. On the contrary, I wholeheartedly support your new advertising trick, the one that involves medieval inquisition techniques applied to pedestrians to demonstrate the relief from any possible pain they can get by taking only two Tylenol. I particularly liked the idea of the special size `S' inquisition devices you use to prove the healing qualities of Tylenol for Kids. Keep up the good work! I will write about my trip to space in my next letter. Talk to y'all later, Lisa."
Anna Badkhen is a reporter for The Boston Globe.