Friday, September 7, 2012

Babies & Advertising -- The Path to Riches

Most people hate advertising and I'm no different. But I'm in this business because, when ads are at their best, they're as  powerful as any communication; they can change or prompt behavior in profound ways    like convincing people to buy ointment. 

That said, I saw an ad on TV last weekend featuring babies and young parents and it got me thinking about how babies are used to sell products and services. 

After watching hours of hilarious YouTube files conducting extensive research, I've examined myriad examples of babies in commercials. Sometimes they are used as props and other times they're the pitch man. 

Ultimately, I've stumbled upon a great advertising truth and one that could prove potentially lucrative for parents across the globe looking to cash in on their kids (and really aren't we all?). 

So, here's my big discovery: regardless of product or service, babies can be used to sell, literally, anything. The baby, like the "cute dog" before it, is now the go-to tool for lazy advertisers who can't think of anything else to get a consumer's attention. (The equivalent of making a volcano for your 5th grade science fair.) 

Some products coupled with babies are a natural fit. Diapers, baby food and cars with high safety ratings are obvious associations. 

For some products there really is no association. Kids are cute and let's face it, if lizards and cavemen can sell insurance why can't a baby sell Doritos? 

This Dorito's ad is a perfect example of  advertisers and creative types who couldn't think of a clever or coherent way to convey their message so they reach for the tried and true tool, the cute baby. In this ad they've coupled the infant with another old favorite, the surprisingly spry old person.

This ad was well reviewed but no matter how much you might have liked or not enjoyed it, there's no disputing that babies have little to do with Doritos. 

Now, trading stocks on the internet on the other hand.......

This ad offers the double whammy of a baby and dog. 

With nearly 3 million hits on YouTube, you can't deny this was a popular ad and that this campaign has been a success. 

But, you also can't tell me that "we'll have a talking baby" is an Earth shattering or even remotely original strategy. As much as any other, these ads prove my thesis. A cute baby can sell anything. (That said, these commercials are really, really well done.)

The ad I saw last weekend drove my point home even further. You see, the baby doesn't have to be cute. In fact the little one could even be a total and utter annoyance. Something so terrible you'd actually consider going somewhere as overpriced and underwhelming as Buffalo Wild Wings. 

Nevermind the two sports nuts essentially sneering at the notion of parenthood, and forget the fact that we're supposed to believe that there's a woman on Earth who actually, genuinely cares about football, this commercial is proof that there's a place for each and every child in commercials. 

Sure, when you see this ad you might see an obnoxious swipe at parents and babies but me, I see dollar signs. 

I can now take my son to any casting call anytime, safe in the knowledge that regardless of his demeanor, he might get the part. 

You can too. And why shouldn't we? Let's face it. We work pretty hard for our infants. It's about time we put them to work for us. And, thanks to a compliant advertising industry, we've got just the outlet. 

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