Advertising that's fatal.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the December 1998 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There is life after death--for campaigns, that is. Although arbiters of good taste may disagree, "The Advertising Graveyard" Web site is a funny, irreverent resurrection of misfires. Consider it a guilty pleasure for those constantly wondering which sales pitches play--and, just as crucially, which ones do not--in today's marketplace.

Found at , "The Advertising Graveyard" features such dead-on-arrival spots as a "Plot Does Matter" advertisement for the upcoming prequel, which spoofs this summer's monster Godzilla promotional push. (You know, the one that insisted size is what matters.)

Other campaigns buried in "The Advertising Graveyard" include some pretty dark-humored spots for the mega-successful Beatles anthology series as well as the unlikely use of two 1970s-era TV cops (that's right--Ponch and Jon are back!) hawking electronics equipment.

Campy, ghoulish and tweaking the boundaries of propriety, it's no wonder this graveyard is attracting so much morbid curiosity.

Executive Decision

When should you hire a director?

We don't need to tell you about the double-edged sword that is business growth. On one hand, you're rightly relishing your hard-earned success--on the other hand, you're trying not to drown in the proverbial sea of opportunities. As currents propel you to and fro, it's tempting to think you've reached the point where you need to hire a marketing director. But have you? When is the ideal time to seek such expertise?

Naturally, there's no one- time-fits-all answer to this question. "Every small business is different," notes Karen Talavera, director of marketing for Experían, an Orange, California-based global information and marketing services company. That said, however, there are certain factors worth considering.

Aside from the simple matter of determining whether you're able to afford a marketing director's salary, ask yourself if you've essentially exhausted your sales leads. "You'll see small businesses that have captured the low-hanging fruit, so to speak," says Talavera. "Once you've tapped out all the obvious opportunities, though, you need to go out and uncover what else is there--and a marketing director will do that." Introducing a new product or service, planning to go public, or putting your company on a fast-growth track are other signs that you may need a marketing director.

Still think you can do it yourself? Well, maybe you can--but be advised that it's no mean feat for entrepreneurs to moonlight as their own marketing directors. "If you're too busy [running the company]," Talavera points out, "there's usually not a lot of time left to spread the word about it."

By The Book

The better to express yourself.

Words matter. What you say can either work for you or against you, and even the most fluent of tongues gets tied on occasion, right? Right. Which is why the Phrase Book (Hamilton House) is such a useful resource.

Written for small-business owners and industry professionals, Gail Hamilton's book is perhaps most easily thought of as a thesaurus for marketers. Say you want to inject the notion of product quality into your company's . Look up the word "excellence," and you'll find such phrases as "our commitment to excellence doesn't stop here" or "you'll find our standard is nothing less than excellence." Want to stress your business's reliability? Try "everything should be this reliable" or "you just can't get more reliable than this."

For those who really want to maximize their promotional efforts, there's a section devoted to the most powerful words in marketing. We're talking about a mind-boggling, humungous, gargantuan extravaganza! Whew... even Webster would be impressed.

Contact Source

Experían, (800) 316-2637,


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