THE BLOG
12/31/2011 10:57 EST | Updated 03/01/2012 05:12 EST

Have You Ever Wanted to Mistake a Manatee for a Dolphin?

What's the point of Visa's most recent commercial? It looks as if they want you to think having a Visa card will get you dreaming of travel, but what I take away from it is they want their customers to be stupid and rude. It makes me want to NOT use their product if that's the level of intelligence they think their customers have.

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Visa's marketing department puzzles me. After watching a questionable television commercial for the last couple of weeks, I can not find a video file of the commercial online. Not on YouTube? Not on their website? Not anywhere. So that in itself is a lesson to the budding marketer of what NOT to do.

The commercial starts with a childless couple in their 30s checking out at a store and pulling out their Visa card. Then the dream sequence begins. I'm sure the people behind them in line loved these two mental midgets being off in La La Land? The dream begins with the couple on the back of a catamaran looking at a manatee and describing it as an old dolphin. Then along comes a dolphin jumping out of the water and the man says, "There's a young dolphin. I don't want to be an old dolphin..." And back to the store lineup and off they go.

So... the point of the commercial? It looks as if they want you to think having a Visa card will get you dreaming of travel, but what I take away from it is they want their customers to be stupid and rude. I don't have a vision for my life that includes holding up a line while I drift off into space, thinking about a vacation where I make silly comments. Like the Pizza Pops commercial I spoke about in a blog last year, it makes me want to NOT use their product if that's the level of intelligence they think their customers have. I have spoken to many others about this commercial who feel the same way. Yet Visa obviously spent a lot of money on producing the commercial and they run it quite frequently on CBC. They must have shown the commercial to focus groups. How does a commercial like this make it out of a system like that? I'd really love to hear your answers if you have any.

A similar type of commercial that I think does work is the Corona series of beach scenes. It gives the sense of vacation and humour, but it doesn't insult one's intelligence. I can see the appeal to any demographic, young, old, male or female. The man is being a man and the women is making her strong point. Both characters come off as likable, intelligent and real.

There seems a trend in television and radio commercials to portray people as stupid, especially males. Many times, I may not like the commercial but I see the point, the appeal and the humour to a certain market segment. So do 18 to 35-year-old males find this Visa commercial funny? Until next time, I am Larry "The Ad Man." Happy holidays to you and your family!