Apple’s ad agency collected the 1998 Emmy Award for best commercial, the 1998 Silver Clio, and the 1998 Silver Lion at Cannes. The company’s revenues dropped for the next three quarters in a row.” Quote from Sergio Zyman from his book, The End of Advertising as We Know It:

We had a tremendous surge in Web traffic, sustained the spike, converted new customers and shot overall sales off the chart.” Quote from Bob Parsons, CEO of Go Daddy, following Super Bowl 44:

Which campaign would you rather lay claim to?

Ask anyone about Apple’s iconic “Think Different” ad campaign and you will be told that it represents the pinnacle of the medium. If you haven’t seen it – or haven’t seen in a while – go look at it again. It really is beautiful theater.

Ask anyone about Go Daddy’s iconic “Go Daddy Girl” ads from any of the past six Super Bowls and you will be told that they represent, to quote AdWeek, “the lowest of the low.”

Ask any CEO which campaign creative they would rather have walking into a board room and they’d probably say the former. Ask the same CEO which campaign results they’d rather have and they’d all say the latter.

The Internet, Twitter and self-publishing have lowered the bar for self-expression. An entire sub-species of marketer has emerged in this intermediate zone, much like the highly specialized organisms that live forty-thousand feet below the surface of the water near the hot vents that spew 200 degree sulphur gas from the depths of the earth. This species is the ad critic. They view advertising as art, much like a movie critic views movies.

The problem with this comparison is that movies are meant to entertain – and ads are meant to sell. A movie critic can point out the relative entertainment merits of a film against a backdrop of story and character development, pace, and a host of other criteria. An ad critic looks to a sales medium and applies the same logic to it without the same insight or relevance.

The role of marketing is to sell – today, tomorrow and the next day. It can be high-brow “rocks and trees” or low-brow Toyota-thons, but make no mistake, ads are here to sell more stuff. Bob Parsons’ quote above says it all.