Bob Garfield's Reign Questioned (And Not Just by Us)
The Daily Ad Biz is going after Advertising Age's Bob Garfield. In a piece entitled "Fire Bob Garfield, First in a Series," the writer examines a recent article by Bob entitled "Just Imagine How Trump Would Have Looked in Wendy's Red Wig." In the The Daily Ad Biz article, Bob is taken to task, sentence by sentence, for his seemingly "out of touch crotchety old man" approach to criticizing advertising.
While some, though not us, trashed the Wendy's Red Wig campaign to one degree or another, when Bob says an ad is bad, he claims (barring a few "horrifying exceptions") he's always right and that the facts are there to back him up. So it was with great interest The Daily Ad Biz shared with us the recently released 2007 full year and Q4 financial figures for Wendy's which, counter to the belief same store sales have been flat, reports same store sales saw a 1.4 percent increase as compared to 2006's 0.6 percent increase.
Additionally, 2007 income increased 134 percent to $96 million, up from $37 million in 2006. That Red Wig campaign isn't looking so bad right now. To be clear, though Bob Garfield might disagree, it's nearly impossible to clearly tie corporate performance to a specific advertising effort. Certainly, associations can be drawn but there are simply too many other variables both promotional and operational to scientifically prove financial performance is directly related to a particular advertising effort.
That said, the existence of the Red Wing campaign at the same time the chain saw an upswing in income causes Bob's claim that "if you were to compare my ad review ratings with advertiser business results over the past 20-some years, or even campaign-longevity, you'd probably give up blogging and start a cult of personality based on my personal infallibility" to ring just a tad hollow.
To be clear, Bob Garfield is an institution. He's been an icon in the advertising industry for more than two decades. He's analyzed thousands of ads over those years. We respect his position as we would anyone who's achieved similar success. But like any institution that's been around for a while, complacent acceptance is never a good thing. As they say, question authority.