In the last two and a half years, Thumbtack, which matches customers with local service professionals, has raised $255 million in funding. If the company had spent the merest fraction of that sum on a professional copywriter with an elementary understanding of how advertising works, it could have come up with something more effective than this existential shrug of a billboard.
“We don’t know.” <Shrug> 8th and Harrison streets, San Francisco
It’s not that I don’t get the tiny, unconvincing joke, O Hipster Ad Agency. Nothing rhymes with orange. Haha.
Here’s the thing (and it pains me to have to point this out):
Billboards are meant to grab your attention in a split-second. They’re not supposed to be convoluted in-jokes. They’re supposed to sell.
And they’re supposed to sell your stuff. Not roses, not “this billboard,” not even florists or poets. If you’re Thumbtack, you want people who see your ad to grok the glories of Thumbtack.
At the risk of repeating myself: We don’t know? Are you effing kidding me? Your website says you’re “reshaping local economies.” You’re “getting things done.” If you don’t know, who does?
And finally: Why is the most important message – “Hire skilled pros for absolutely everything” – in the tiniest type?
A good ad should make you smile in instant recognition. It should be memorable and motivational. It should leave you with a positive impression of the advertiser.
It shouldn’t make you feel like your soul’s been sucked out of your body and sacrificed to the gods of snark.
Previously in Bad Advertising of the Bay Area:
- SF Environment / Talking Is Teaching (a double feature!)
- Go Tahoe North
- Sunlee jasmine rice
It honestly boggles my mind how many billboards put the most important information in the tiniest type, making it impossible to see as you barrel past on the freeway. Do these ad agencies ever do studies to see if people actually (1) were able to read the thing in the first place and (2) were swayed at all by the message?
Posted by: Jonathon Owen | December 08, 2016 at 10:51 AM
It also gives advertising a bad name. People seeing this might think, "This must be so creative, or I'm just too stupid, old or uninformed to get it."
If you don't get it, it's not your fault, it's theirs.
Posted by: Dan Freiberg | December 08, 2016 at 03:39 PM