Monday, June 18, 2007

Glengenie Glen Ross

Ah, the time-honored method of advertising: using our product will make you more successful and attractive to the opposite sex.

Generic Blonde: "Pierce, what's with the new sports car? How 'bout a ride?"

What's with the new sports car? It's going to be revealed momentarily that Pierce is phenomenally successful at his sales job. I wonder how he affords cars like that? Maybe it's all those commissions he gets from selling things, which he does frequently? Does this woman even work at this company?

Pierce: "Maybe!"

"Lindsey in Finance offered a quickie in the supply closet, but I'll give you the chance to top that!"

Note the obvious implication here that Pierce is single. So the commercial is pitched at men in their late-40s (at least; this guy clearly dyes his hair and looks old enough to be that woman's dad), by promising them extravagant wealth plus the advances of their younger, sluttier coworkers. Who could resist? (Also, pay attention to the emphasis the woman puts on "ride." Total skank.)

Pierce: "Walter! Let's play some golf this afternoon!"
Walter: "Sorry, I haven't sold anything all month."

The trustiest subliminal message in any commercial: the guy who doesn't use your product is less attractive than the one who does. Of course, since the star of this ad is Leathery Grandpa Pierce, his foil has to be Bald Schlumpy Walter, the overworked loser whose failure to exploit a sales lead service has the wolf at his door. What'll it be, salesmen? Chestnut hair dye and a tee time, or outstanding water bills and a cueball? That's what I thought.

Boss: "Pierce, come in here. Hey - you're doing great. Wanna come to my house for dinner tonight?"
Pierce [much too loudly]: "Absolutely!"

"Rub elbows with the bigwigs! Earn your way into upper management!" Or brown-nose your way there. You know, whatever. Perhaps Pierce has been selling so well that the boss is preparing to offer his first-born son to him, and the dinner is just where the formal handover will take place. Either way, Pierce seems almost cartoonishly excited. Maybe it's all the cocaine that's been keeping him in peak sales form.

Generic Slacker Guy: "Dude, how do you do it? You've sold three million dollars this quarter already!"

Give the brains at whatever back-alley ad agency foisted this steamer on the public SalesGenie some credit: they've managed to work a lot of character development into these two sentences. For example, we know that this guy is probably lazy and/or bad at his job, because he starts questions with "Dude." But more importantly, the guy is the office expositor. It's his job to state facts that are obvious to the person he's talking to, just in case some unseen audience happens to be listening in. "Dude, how do you do it? You're beating gold diggers off with a stick, unintentionally driving Walter closer to suicide, and you're going to receive a surprising sexual proposition from Mr. Henderson in four hours. All that and your tie has diagonal stripes!"

Pierce: "Motley (?), only fools work hard. I work smart. I use I get just the right sales leads."

I guess my question here is, how much less hard does a person really have to work if they use SalesGenie? Sure, it's probably more reliable a database of names than, say, the phone book, but on the other hand, the phone book doesn't cost anything. In fact, the SalesGenie website even states things like:

If you mail 100 pieces using our lists, it’s not unusual for 8-10 pieces to come back undeliverable. If you are making phone calls, you can expect 10% of the calls will not be completed. ... We suggest that you verify the list you get from us and build a more valuable prospecting database for yourself. ... Our lists are only one factor in the success of any promotion. You must also have a good product, competitive pricing, quality service, attractive marketing pieces, and an effective marketing plan.

I especially like the middle one. "Save time by buying leads from SalesGenie! (Note: Please spend time verifying all leads; also, get your own.)" I imagine that most of this disclaimer is only there because SalesGenie is legally required to point out that they aren't exactly selling 100% foolproof money makers here. Remember, you must also be selling something worthwhile! So don't blame SalesGenie when your homemade trash sculptures fail to find an audience. Seriously, though - I don't have access to SalesGenie's database, but I imagine that the biggest difference between it and the phone book is that the people in the database have way more magazine subscriptions.

Announcer: "For 100 free sales leads, go to"

Check out who's getting out of the car in the last shot - that's right, it's the slutty coworker from the opening scene! Pierce's success has driven her wild with passion! The passion to be his cocktail-swilling trophy wife.

EDIT: Unbeknownst to me when I wrote this post, this ad was named the worst ad of the 2007 Super Bowl during a viewer poll. Nevertheless, its message - use us and be successful and/or sexually active - apparently worked. Proof once more that companies are going to keep running stupid, shitty ads as long as consumers keep falling for them.

1 comment:

Quivering P. Landmass said...

Here's another way of looking at it: If a BAD ad worked that well for them, imagine what a HALF F*#$ING DECENT ad would do.