Thursday, July 19, 2007

Periodic Fable

If you're going to make up something and pretend it's vaguely scientific, you might at least want to consult with someone who passed ninth-grade chemistry class:

The Human Element. Okay, I get the concept, the "human element" is something you should take into consideration when evaluating things, especially business. But the Human Element, in this commercial, is shown as the 8th element in the periodic table. Now, as any high schooler who's ever glanced up at the chalkboard during science class will tell you, the 8th element is oxygen. Not Humanium, or whatever. It's funny because they're obviously aware of the existence of oxygen, since they mention in the ad that water is "hydrogen bonding with oxygen." And yet they refuse to look at a periodic table. How sloppy is this concept?

The rest of this commercial is just a litany of elements, without saying anything about Dow or what it is or what it sells. Can I stop by my local Dow retailer on my way home from work? Could I pick up a couple of cans of Dow at the grocery store this weekend? What the hell is this company?

Dow Chemical is a company that manufactures plastics and performance chemicals and the like (by the way, shows the fictional element "Hu" as element 52 - this is also wrong, the 52nd element is Tellurium [Te].) Why do behind-the-scenes companies like Dow bother spending the money to advertise? And advertise so ineffectively? Do you see commercial spots for Procter & Gamble? No, you see commercials for the crap they make - Tide, Charmin, Pringles.

Show me a commercial for one of your products, Dow - maybe I would watch it. What I won't watch? Poorly-conceived, vaguely-smart-sounding-but-ultimately-stupid ads for a company a consumer has no relationship with.

By the way, Dow, element 119 (not yet actually discovered), needs a permanent name. You could have the first-ever corporate-sponsored element. And luckily, "Hu" isn't taken yet! Get on it!


Windier E. Megatons said...

This reminds me of those old BASF commercials about "We don't make a lot of the products you buy; we make a lot of the products you buy better." Which is all well and good, but what were they selling me on? (BASF, by the way: also a chemical company.) My best guess here is that they're trying to sell stock.

Quivering P. Landmass said...

THAT was it! I couldn't remember who ran those ads. But yet, this is the same situation. At least BASF makes it clear they're under the radar, though.

B said...

I tend to assume that when companies like this advertise it's because they want the public to think of them in a positive light because of some ongoing political maneuvering.

I suppose that might not be the case, and I don't know of any specifics regarding Dow, but I do remember Halliburton airing some ads a couple of years ago which were obviously intended to convince you that they aren't the war-profiteering vampires that many believe they are, which seemed to be an attempt to make it easier for those in the government and Congress who wanted to protect them to look less like they were in bed with a bunch of crooks.