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I Find Them To Be Very Reliable

Every now and then, an advertising campaign starts running that’s so completely inept it’s actually entertaining to attempt to figure out how the hell anyone thought it was a good idea. The Federal Government’s Need Staff campaign is one of them. They’re all pretty bad, but this gem about the merits of older workers (Windows Media, recent versions of MPlayer should cope, although you’ve probably seen the ad by now if you watch any Australian TV) must win the prize for the most condescending ad of 2007, featuring such gold as the trick is not to pigeonhole people and I find [older workers] to be very reliable, with a hilarious emphasis on the very part that suggests that the subject is actually surprisingly reliable teenage glue sniffers instead of workers who (gasp!) might have a few grey hairs.

What I can’t work out is who the target audience for this ad is. Sure, I guess it’s aimed at employers, but the way I see it, you’ve got two types of employer when it comes to this ad: those that will employ the best person regardless of age (and hence aren’t the target) and those who will employ the cheapest person, which means the youngest. I’m not sure too many of the latter group are going to suddenly exclaim I’ve seen the light! Why employ fourteen year olds when I can employ these very reliable older workers for three times the cost! I’m going to call the Employer Hotline right now!

As for the thought process behind the ad, I can only assume that the marketeers were handed a brief and decided that instead of putting some actual work into making the ads appealing, they’d just reuse the draft they wrote the previous year for a series of public service announcements that went nowhere and find-replace a few words to make it fit.

Oh well. Just another example of our tax dollars at work.

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