I recently wrote an entry about Audible.com using ads mocking John Kerry to promote its ListenBeforeYouVote.com site, a site that exists as little more than a redirect to the main Audible.com site. I complained about how vehemently opposed to it I was. As I mentioned in that entry, I wrote to Audible.com and received the following reply:
I will bring this to the attention of my supervisors. I looked at the link but could not find what you are refering to, but whomever made the page must know somthing about it. I personally do not consider that fair if they are singling out one canidate or the other, and im (sic) sure it was not our intent to do so. Please eccept (sic) my appologies (sic) on behalf of audible, i (sic) will deffenetly (sic) have someone look at this issue. Thank You!
I thought that might be the end, but it’s not. As I said in that entry…
I don’t know if I’d feel the same way if the only ad was the “George W. Bush is an idiot” version, but I only have the information at hand, which mocks the candidate I support. I hope I’d feel the same way if the reverse had been true. I suspect I’d disagree with the marketing plan but wouldn’t be as upset about the sentiment since it matches my own. That doesn’t make it smart.
That’s about right. I found the Cheney ad on a site that has a more liberal bent, so it’s obvious that Audible.com is targeting the assumed readership of specific sites. Since I don’t stick with just my own opinion, I found both. I don’t know if I’m a rare person who comes across that or not, but it doesn’t change how vile and stupid I think the strategy is. Just as with the Kerry ad, portraying Bush supporters as “closed-minded, reactionary war-mongers” is unfair and untrue.
I’m not as angered by the Cheney ad, but I think that’s because the two ads are different in one fundamental way. Since the Cheney ad is cartoonish, the context implies a marketing tone rather than a mocking tone. Perhaps I’m clouded in my judgement, but that’s my view. I still think the ads are despicable.
(For more perspective, consider these ads featuring Hillary Clinton being elistist and
Ann Coulter fighting Al Franken.)