Currys got this so wrong. Tesco got it so right.

Currys & Tesco

We're living in pretty cool times. We've invented duster socks for cats. Science has blessed us with bacon-scented cologne. Even advertising's started to move with the times - Twitter's new TV tie-in represents some serious joined up thinking. I'm a big fan of the clever remarketing Facebook's now offering via its FBX platform (there's some golden potential for Social Commerce in them there hills).

So, when I see dumbo, dumb-ass, dum-dum advertising like the Currys Adwords example below, I just despair:

Currys advert

First, I was served this ad in early June, a massive 82 days until the next bank holiday (thanks for reminding me - guh). Secondly, it's Officejet, folks. Capital O. Like you might find in the sentence: "Oliver worked on the Currys account but now flips burgers for a living." Thirdly, how much is it again? "xxx"? I'm not sure I can stretch to that much. And finally, perhaps worst of all, the link leads to a search results page on the Currys website which doesn't even feature the HP printer in question. Or, in fact, any printer.

Ah well. Balls-ups happen (although it doesn't take a genius to proof-read an ad and set it to expire). But that's the problem with dumb advertising, ads which are served by machines which may prove to be highly efficient when it comes to bombing humanity into oblivion, Skynet-style, but are frankly rubbish at selling us stuff. What advertising is crying out for is a touch of the human.

A human won't tell you there's a great deal on cat litter then inadvertently link to catsup. A human won't email their friends weeks after an event to ask if they're going. A human won't accidentally big up your brand to an audience of women-haters on Facebook (unless your brand sells something truly awful). Nope, a human will post things which make sense to them and make sense to their audience. Things like this:

Advocacy

That's a randomly selected tweet referencing a recent Tesco Co-buy. It's got the price and the product right, it's got an advocate saying that they're buying personally and it's got a really clear call to action for other people to follow suit.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that people are going to stop all computerised keyword advertising overnight and instead plough their entire marketing budgets into Social Commerce platforms which inspire exactly this kind of peer-to-peer advertising.

But which would you rather have? Another meaningless Adwords mess-up pitched at an audience who couldn't care less? Or a message written BY your target audience FOR your target audience, delivered directly TO your target audience - and which doesn't cost you a penny to deploy?

I'll leave that one for you to ponder...

Robin Bresnark