Ad Space – Life’s Short …

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Promotion:

The Product:
Ashley Madison dating service

The Pitch:
“… have an affair.”

I’ve gone back and forth several times on Ashley Madison’s whole advertising strategy, selling itself as a dating service specifically for people looking to cheat on their spouses. Thus far, my thought process has gone like this:

  1. Wait, this isn’t a joke? You actually had the low morals and audacity to make a business like this?
  2. Well, it’s not like people don’t use other dating websites for adultery anyway.
  3. Even so, why would you want that to be what people associate you with? Don’t you want a better brand image?
  4. If someone’s married, being caught on any dating website is gonna be bad – may as well get caught on Ashley Madison as anything else.
  5. Okay, but why limit yourself to cheating spouses? Your sales pitch seems guaranteed to turn off everyone else.
  6. Hey, at least this way, everyone on Ashley Madison knows the person they’re chatting with is married. No one gets tricked into dating someone only to find out they’ve secretly got a spouse and a family.
  7. Even if you justify yourself that way, your ads still seem to be actively encouraging people to have affairs! It’s part of your slogan: “Have an affair!”
  8. Oh, come on, do you really think someone’s going to make a big decision like violating their marriage vows just because a thirty second ad spot told them to? No one’s gonna listen to these ads who wasn’t planning to have an affair anyway.
  9. So you’re not telling the kid to burn down the school gymnasium, you’re just telling them that, if they want to, you can get them the lighter and some kerosene soaked rags.

That’s about where my thoughts on the subject have stalled out. Who knows how many more rationales and counter-rationales I could’ve come up with if the whole thing hadn’t just started making me feel sad.