I’ve never been a fan of CarMax’s advertising campaigns, but their current effort hits a new low. It’s so bad that no one has bothered to put it on YouTube, which means that I can’t give you a link to view any of the campaign’s ads. It’s probably just as well; asking you to view these ads is tantamount to someone handing you sour milk and saying, “Here–Does this taste funny to you?”
If you’re fortunate enough to not have been assaulted by these ads, here’s what you’ve missed: each ad features a different dog or other animal watching a CarMax commercial and turning toward the camera; when the image freezes, a harsh musical chord is struck, and the words “Dramatically smart!” are splashed across the screen.
Duh, gee, I get it; they’re telling us that becoming a CarMax customer is a dramatically smart thing to do! Why, however, is dramatically less clear. Even though I’ve probably seen at least 10 of these commercials, I honestly cannot recall a single thing that is said about CarMax or why you would want to give them your business.
There is nothing the least bit clever or engaging about any aspect of these commercials, and they were executed as poorly as they were conceived. (For example, once the image is frozen, it seemingly takes forever before the words “Dramatically smart!” appear.) It is absolutely astounding to me that the marketing powers-that-be at CarMax could have determined that these ads would interest or in any way impress prospective customers.
As I often ask whenever I see a major corporation with such ill-conceived advertising, “If they’re this clueless when it comes to advertising, what other things are they getting wrong?”
The only thing that makes sense about these ads is their use of dogs, as this campaign is a real woofer. (I know, that was a predictable joke, but thinking and writing about this campaign has apparently dulled my own creative senses. Woof!)