Meguiar’s Polish. A 30-car-pileup-of-offensiveness in one :15 ad.
There’s two kinds of unsuccessful attempts at humor when it comes to advertising. Spots that try to be funny and fall flat, and spots that try to be funny and come off as completely tone deaf, insulting everyone involved. The newest Meguiar’s Polish spot is the latter.
If you haven’t caught it during one of the many times it’s aired during the NBA Playoffs, let me give you a synopsis. Pregnant wife is in labor, peeks into garage to tell car-obsessed husband that the baby’s coming — which makes him opt for the “faster” Meguiar’s polish, while she looks on lovingly (because that’s the look of a woman in labor). He looks lovingly at the polish, not wife, while the announcer says, “We know sometimes other things come first.”
Which thing is coming first here, exactly? Is it supposed to be the wife and the baby? Because it seems like it’s the husband and his CAR. Hospital scene concludes with new Dad chomping on a cigar while he and the male doctor look out at his recently polished car through the hospital window.
It’s impressive how many insulting stereotypes this brand has managed to cram into 15 seconds. Dad-to-be comes off as an idiot because he has a baby literally on the way and his first concern is the mirror-like finish of his vehicle. Mom-to-be comes off as an idiot because she also appears to be in adoring support of her husband’s skewed priorities. And Meguiar’s swoops in as the “hero” of this scenario?
Now I KNOW this was designed to be an over-the-top way to make a point — Meguiar’s has an Ultimate Quik Wax that you can use in 15 minutes or less. But when I’m so turned off by the brand, it doesn’t matter that I got the product message. When I see these kinds of ads, I wonder who saw this concept and approved it. Marketers and ad agencies need to hold themselves to a higher standard than just delivering the product benefit in a “creative” way. And remember that every piece of communication is an opportunity to elevate the brand. Or damage it.
Humor can be very effective for a brand. Humor works well when it taps into a truth, sometimes taking that truth and pushing it to the extreme. This brand decided to tap into a tired cliché (men neglect their families and love their cars) and push that to the extreme instead. NOT FUNNY. NOT WORKING.
It takes a lot of people to make an ad. This 15-second kebab skewer of bad decisions should never have happened. We started June Cleaver is Dead because we believe brands can do better when it comes to marketing to moms. But that goes for marketing to dads too — drop the worn-out stereotypes already and give us all a bit more credit. Because no one in this ad looks good — least of all, Meguiar’s.
I give this ad a ...
Update: from what we can tell, it looks like Meguiar’s pulled this ad within days of this post being published– from broadcast TV, their YouTube channel, and as their pinned tweet on Twitter. So thankfully you won’t be seeing this ad anymore, unless you choose to, right here.