I'm On A Horse But Bob Garfield Was on a Plane


So while Bob Garfield was on a plane during the Super Bowl (yes, beyond all fathomable reason, this is true), thus missing the fact Google ran a commercial (only to review it a week later), Old Spice's "I'm on a Horse" should have been in the game. During this week's Beancast (summarized here), it was agreed the Old Spice commercial would have been a standout hit in the game. It poked fun at the whole metrosexual thing but in a way that was humorous to all.

But, back to what I was talking about. Bob Garfield, the industry's preeminent ad commentator was on a plane during the Super Bowl. On a plane as in not watching the game. As in not watching the year's biggest pantheon of advertising. As in not doing his job.

Granted, he was off to give some sort of lecture on Super Bowl ads but, seriously? Miss the game? Wait an entire week to review the Google ad?

I have no problem, per se, with Bob, or anyone, reviewing ads in advance when they've gone to the trouble of obtaining them from marketers but to do it in a vacuum (out of context and not in the game), in my opinion, nets an incomplete review.

Certainly Advertising Age, in order to maintain its crown as the preeminent advertising publication in the industry has to stay on top of things. In other words, it makes perfect sense for them to click the "publish" button the second the game is over unleashing Bob's two day old ad reviews. But at the same time, with the immediacy that blogs, twitter and even regular old media now bring, the days old reviews (his reviews frequently appear days and weeks after the ads originally are released) from Garfield seem, well, pointless.

Certainly a well thought out review has its place. 140 character tweets and two paragraph rants here on Adrants don't offer the complete picture but when the industry's preeminent ad reviewer is consistently late to market with his commentary in the face of drastically changed publishing patterns, it all seems tired, old and inconsiderate of Advertising Age not to offer us more.

About four years ago, then Advertising Age publisher Scott Donaton called me to ask me about Adrants and this whole blogging thing. My immediate reaction was twofold. Pride that the editor of the ad industry's leading publication would think I knew anything at all of merit. Fear that the industry's leading publication would soon launch a flurry of blogs and crush Adrants into the floor.

While Advertising Age did, in a manner of speaking, launch a few blogs, they're more like op-ed pieces when compared to AdWeek's AdFreak, a wonderful example of a mainstream publisher "going blog."

Bob Garfield is a well spoken man. There's no doubt about that. He's intelligent and he has insightful opinions. Though he claims, ludicrously, to be right most the time, his opinions are generally well thought out even if they, sometimes, seem twisted. There is a place for Bob Garfield. I'm just not sure it's reviewing ads anymore. It's time for a refresh, Advertising Age.

In a way, Garfield is like Howard Stern. People love him and people love to hate him. It's the perfect combination as illustrated by a scene in the Howard Stern movie. The number one reason people who love Howard Stern listen: to hear what he says next. The number one reason people who hate Howard Stern listen: to hear what he says next. This is all well and good for ginning up controversy, readership and comments. But with so much excellent ad commentary available from other sources, Garfield has fallen into the "yea, whatever" category. And that's not good for a publication that's supposed to be the number one publication in the industry.

I could be wrong but if I am I know you'll tell me and I'll welcome it.

by Steve Hall    Feb-15-10   Click to Comment   
Topic: Opinion, Super Bowl 2010