If you have the gift of sight and have spent any amount of time in Los Angeles during the past few months, you are guaranteed to have been confronted by this advertising campaign for the combat sports lifestyle brand TapouT (hereafter “Tapout” – no one has time to capitalize non-consecutive letters in the same nonsense word). A cursory glance will reveal that this ad is missing a key piece of information – namely information. You’ll notice the only copy on the ad is the name of the company and the cryptic message “WATCH FOR SEASON 3.” Let’s examine this ad, one element at a time.
“Watch For Season 3” – what does this tells us? Well, apparently there has been a seasons 1 and 2 of what we can only assume is a broadcast program of some kind. As to the nature, medium, content, and network on which this program can be found, we can only guess at this point. When I view an advertisement that I cannot click on, I expect certain things. Among these is at least one of the following: a web address, telephone number, SMS short code, a street address, or some other method for following up on what I have seen. Tapout has (bravely?) chosen to leave this information vital to its success off of the ad, saving room for some truly revolutionary photography.
To the far left sits an older gentleman in a suit and executive chair, holding an unlit cigar and flashing a smile that makes you wonder whether or not he has underaged girls trapped in the trunk of his rental Crown Victoria. Interestingly, our in-house private detective discovered that this character is the separated-at-birth twin of the late Rodney Dangerfield.
Analysis of the next characters required some research on our part. Of course, as mentioned above, there is no web address on the ad itself, but a shot-in-the-dark navigation to http://www.tapout.com turned out to be correct.
It Gets Worse:
From the website, we learned that the two role models to the right are named PunkAss and SkySkraper (“Skrape” to his friends). Awful.
From PunkAss’ bio:
“Punkass doesn’t say much, but when he does, he often means MORE than just business…No explanation needed for why this fully-inked bad boy was branded ‘Punkass.’” I beg to differ on the “no explanation needed” comment.
Let’s talk Skrape:
“His flamboyant garb and keen knowledge of MMA spark the entire mystique within fight fans who wonder if Skyskrape is a legit fellow…” I think we’ve heard enough.
In summary, we have a company that is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars per month in the Los Angeles market alone on static and digital outdoor media for a campaign that features worthless copy and images that confuse more than inform. Anyone seeing this billboard who wasn’t already aware of Tapout would almost certainly let the image just blend in with the rest of the visual assault they endure during each commute.
In my opinion, there were already too many places to purchase T-shirts that project lifestyles in which no one is actually engaged well before Tapout hit the scene with this Pulitzer-worthy campaign.