According to the New York Times (via Consumerist.com), the president of Salesgenie.com has apologized for his company's Super Bowl commercials. The animated ads depicted panda bears speaking in Chinese accents and a main character (named Ramesh) who spoke in an Indian accent.
The thing I find really funny is that the company president, Vinod Gupta, apparently developed and wrote the commercials himself. It's funny to me for a couple of reasons -- first is that the guy spent more than $2 million for EACH 30-second ad, but couldn't be bothered to get professional ad people involved (the animation was done by an outside firm, but not the writing/development). The second reason I find it funny is that the Monday commercial wrap-ups across the web universally panned the commercials as lame, ineffective, and offensive. It's one thing to go your own way and not bring in professionals... it's another thing to fall on your face in the meantime.
Salesgenie is actually a part of InfoUSA and Mr. Gupta is the Chairman and CEO of InfoUSA. He wrote the company's ad spots that run in last year's Super Bowl as well. That's right, the chairman of a company whose market cap is nearly $500 million decided to write his own commercials, two years in a row. So he did. Poorly.
The commercial for Salesgenie during the Super Bowl last year was poorly received, but in that instance the complaints were about what viewers perceived as low production values and a hard-sell style.
The Salesgenie commercials were poorly regarded in many surveys, polls and reviews of this year’s 54 Super Bowl ads.
For instance, in the 20th USA Today Ad Meter survey, the pandas spot finished 44th and the salesman spot finished 49th.
In a survey of blog posts about Super Bowl spots by Collective Intellect, the Salesgenie commercials drew the most negative discussion.
Personally, I think Mr. Gupta should apologize to the viewers who have had to watch his commercials. They're horrible.
They are spending some big-time money, though, as one of the Fox pre-game shows was sponsored by Salesgenie and there have been print ads running recently in various national business magazines. And while the stock market's been fairly volatile across the board the last couple of weeks, it doesn't look like Wall Street was too hip on the ads either. Here's the financial equivalent of some Monday-morning quarterbacking earlier this week:
The whole premise of their ads is "100 free leads for your sales peoples." And, for some reason, that just cracks me up... I know the InfoUSA model is to have giant databases of people and businesses, with attributes assigned to that data so they can slice it and dice it based on demographics.
Nonetheless, the idea that a sales group would get value out of some generic "leads" database makes me wonder... doesn't the value of those leads depend on what I'm selling? Suppose my niche is high-end lizard-care products for exotic reptiles? Software aimed at meteorologists who monitor currents in the North Atlantic? USB sushi flash drives? The InfoUSA business has obviously done well, and I'm certainly no salesperson... so maybe it's just me that finds the whole "100 free leads" thing kinda funny.
Or maybe it's funny because it reminds me of Glengarry Glen Ross and the complaining the sales guys did about "the leads". They didn't have "the good leads"... 'cause Mitch and Murray sent them the crap leads! Man, it's time to watch this movie again.