Recent Ads Reflect Marketers’ Disconnect from Reality, Audience

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In today’s polarized society, brands struggle to build their messages on common ground. This effort, suggests Rip Media CEO Maury Rogow, while understandable, may yield less than optimum results.

Consumers have changed, marketers must adapt, or risk coming across as disconnected.

It’s a difficult situation. ... Marketers are trying to talk to a middle ground that doesn’t exist anymore, and in the process, ads are losing some of their focus.

Between a lingering pandemic, a sharply divided political climate, and a lengthy list of unresolved social and economic issues, there is a widespread sense in the U.S. that something basic has changed, and that we live in a new and unsettled world.(1) Meanwhile, despite a slight dip in consumer spending(2), advertising budgets for virtually all media continue to climb.(3) “It’s a difficult situation,” says Maury Rogow, CEO of Hollywood’s Rip Marketing Group. “The reality is that the country’s divided. Marketers are trying to talk to a middle ground that doesn’t exist anymore, and in the process, ads are losing some of their focus.”

A good example of this problem, notes Rogow, was on display in the ads that ran during this year’s NFL championship game, which were widely regarded by industry critics as failing to deliver messages with mass appeal.(4) Not all of them failed, however, says Rogow. As an exception, Rogow singled out Amazon’s Alexa ad, which revolved around a fantasy involving the ‘body of Alexa,’ brought to life as the actor Michael B. Jordan. “It is a great concept,” says Rogow. "They used my 10 Commandments of Great Story, with style, humor, being unique, and relatability. I’m sure pieces of it will reappear in tighter 30 second spots, but this full-length version went on just a couple of scenes too long, but it worked.”

Less successful, says Rogow, was a Cheetos ad featuring Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and reggae singer Shaggy. “It utilized great talent, a widely recognizable couple, and a popular theme of re-using a song, ala TikTok. They could have done more with the talent in that room, I thought it felt dated and wanted to see more from such a talented couple.”

Perhaps the most anticipated debut in the broadcast—and, in Rogow’s eyes, perhaps the best example of failing to connect with your audience—was the Uber Eats ads featuring Mike Myers and Dana Carvey in a reunion of the Wayne and Garth characters from the 32-year-old Saturday Night Live skit “Wayne’s World.” Says Rogow, “Everybody wanted to see those ads, one of which had a guest appearance by Cardi B—and two amazing comedic actors. The scenario of two teens in their basement was fresh in the 80s, but an updated scenario could have been more engaging. Yet, the campaign got a lot of PR, which was good—but you have to deliver on the hype.”

Food for Thought

  • Consumers have changed, marketers must adapt, or risk coming across as disconnected.
  • If location is prime in real estate, the NFL championship game is 90210. In marketing you need story, story, story.
  • A recent Economist Intelligence Unit survey showed that 45% of marketers fail to use big data to understand consumers.(5)
  • Marketers fail to understand that it comes down to psychology, the ability to trigger an emotion from the consumer that will translate into a sale. A mistake marketers make is doing what looks good to them and not what will connect with the audience.(6)

The basic problem, says Rogow, in these ads and in today’s overall marketing environment—is not lack of talent, but a disconnect brought about by the desire to appeal to everybody. “The number-one rule of story,” says Rogow, “is to know your audience. There is a split in the American audience, which means that to put out ads that really resonate, you’re going to have to pick a side and go for it.” This does not mean, Rogow cautions, that brands should alienate one side or the other of the cultural divide. It is possible to choose sides quietly: he urges, take a stand.

“If you appeal to a specific audience, solve their problems and sensibilities,” says Rogow, “you go further in obtaining brand loyalty. It makes sense to pick a side and have a hundred thousand or a million loyal fans, rather than appeal to the middle ground and attract nobody.”

About Rip Media Group
Rip Media Group, founded in 2007, is a trailblazing video marketing company based in Los Angeles, California. Founded by digital pioneer Maury Rogow, Rip Media Group brings a unique combination of storytelling art and ROI strategy to the field of animation and live action video. Maury is a member of the Producers Guild of America, with several feature films to his credit. His unique background in film production led to an epiphany in the intrinsic value of storytelling in marketing, no matter how technical the subject. This led to his work in a high-tech firm and its purchase by Cisco for over $1Billion. He went on to form Rip Media Group, a collection of award-winning storytellers, technicians, and artists, selected from the Producers Guild, Writers Guild, and Screen Actors Guild. Their Green Light Production Process™ and other proprietary systems are used to create world-class voiceover, animation, and live action video to grow businesses of any size.

1.    Lush, Tamara, and Boak, Josh. “A Divided Nation Asks: What's Holding Our Country Together?” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 28 Dec. 2020,
2.    Mutikani, Lucia. “U.S. Consumer Spending Decreases Further; Inflation Creeping Up.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 29 Jan. 2021,
3.    “How Is the US Ad Market Projected to Fare This Year?” Marketing Charts, 21 Dec. 2020,
4.    Adams, Peter, Kelly, Chris, and Koltun, Natalie. “Super Bowl LV Ads Highlight Marketers' Disconnect with Reality.” Marketing Dive, 8 Feb. 2021,
5.; “Disconnect between marketing and customers”; 13 June 2020; | Accessed 3 March 2021
6.    Better Marketing; “The 3 Types of Ads and Why Some Fail While Others Succeed”; 12 Dec. 2019; | Accessed 3 March 2021

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