These original Kirt's Cogitations™ may be reproduced (no more than
5, please) provided proper credit is given to me, Kirt Blattenberger.
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Cog·i·ta·tion [koj-i-tey'-shun] – noun: Concerted thought or
reflection; meditation; contemplation.
Kirt [kert] – proper noun: RF Cafe webmaster.
Too Clever by Half?
Here is an indisputable
fact: Most people are not willing to pay any amount for non-essential
items they consider to be intangibles. That is to say if such an item
is not regarded as having trading or bartering value, then there is
usually resistance to paying for it. The behavior is particularly applicable
to printed material (information), be it physical in the form of a magazine,
or virtual in the form of a webpage. I am that way, and my guess is
that you are, too.
Now, just because we are not willing to pay
for access to certain information does not mean that we do not want
to consume what is being offered, we simply do not care to trade our
hard-earned income for it. That is where advertising comes into play.
Television (over-the-air) and radio (AM & FM) broadcasts, websites,
trade magazines (EE Times, Microwaves & RF, High Frequency Electronics,
etc.), neighborhood sporting events, and many other venues that we access
on a regular basis have costs entirely underwritten by companies willing
to pay to have their message presented to that portion of the public
benefitting from its investment. RF Cafe is such a venue.
argument can be made that just because you do not have to shell out
money from your pocket for access, there is actually a price being paid
in the form of inconvenience. The presence of advertisements does create
clutter and a distraction from the main topic of your interest. Mental
processing time is required to separate the information from the "noise."
In the case of radio and television, you must endure dedicated segments
of advertising (or go do something else), while printed forms are more
of a multitasking (even subconscious) effort. As much as advertising
can be considered a nuisance, it obviously performs a needed function
or it would have disappeared long ago. The fact is that almost all companies
(those still in business, anyway) have something that people want or
need, so other than word-of-mouth, advertising is necessary. In many
situations, particularly in professional environments where vital information
is needed to be successful, discovering a new opportunity by virtue
of an advertisement can be a (figurative) life saver.
notoriously have paid huge amounts of money to have advertisements designed
to maximize effectiveness. Most notable are the recent Super Bowl campaigns
where 30-second slots are being sold for millions of dollars. I have
never been a big football fan, but in the last few years I have taken
to watching the Super Bowl just to see the highly touted commercials.
Coca-Cola and UPS would love to read that confession. Occasionally,
the intended effect is realized, but often, IMHO, the advertisements
fall way short of the intended outcome. Some are downright stupid and
do more harm than good (like the Budweiser Clydesdale fart being ignited
by the lovers' candle and torching them while they sit in the sleigh).
The phrase "too clever by half" applies for many of them.
pages of our trade magazines are populated with many types of advertisements;
some are really good, others are really bad, and most are mercifully
benign. I tend to notice the first two types. Below are a few examples
of some of the ads that have stood out for one or the other of the two
reasons. Company names and product identifiers have been removed. I
am hoping the "Fair Use" rule applies to my reproducing part of these
advertisements. You will probably recognize many of these. My comments,
for what they are worth, are included.
I always like when electronic components are used to for
Who doesn't love good nerd humor? Linx Technologies hit
a home run with these banner ads, IMHO.
The "back of a napkin" brainstorm-turned-product image has
always been appealing to me. This ad does a good job of capturing
As the saying goes, "Brevity is the soul of wit."
ad proves it.
I have always thought this was one of the cleverest ads
I'm not a cards player, but I think this is a good use of
a familiar theme - not to mention the implication of the waveforms
being four aces - the best possible
four-of-a-kind hand to
This is another lame attempt at using a metaphor. Sorry
- not impressed.
A more appropriate image to go with the title would be a
cable in a snake form shedding its skin, but most people would
not appreciate a snake. As one who has worked with metal armored
cables, any means of getting rid of the metal is a welcome sight.
Very cleverly done - the graphic concisely illustrates the
message using a familiar object. It definitely conveys the idea
of the messy results that can come from a lack of attention
I hate to be the one to point this out, but in these times
of manic concern over global warming and melting glacier mass,
doesn't this seem to suggest that the company views the holy
ice as an impediment to mankind's progress? Just asking...
From a strictly scientific standpoint,
that ice floe appears to have its volume evenly distributed
above and below the water line. My schoolbooks say 7/8 of the
mass would be under water.
Here is an effective representation of a component "marketplace."
The jury is still out on this one - could easily fall into
the too-clever-by-half category.
This one is kind of corny, but it does use an appropriate
This one I like - simple, but effective. We techies speak
of "learning curves" all the time, and often draw a plot in
the air with our fingers while doing so.
This series of ads is not bad, but there is not a lot of
work that goes into them. The company's previous series with
custom artwork was excellent - particularly their wireless cafe
"RF Cafe?" ad.
Yeah, the metaphor is correct, but for some reason it offends
Kind of funny, but a bit sophomoric, IMHO.
A transformation from a paper airplane to a supersonic fighter.
Maybe it's a personal thing since I am an airplane hobbyist.
Neither offends nor excites.
This should appeal to BASE jumpers and other extreme sports
tower, S=Span (bridge), E= Earth
Another effective metaphor. Like the nature paintings with
embedded secondary images of animals, you might at first glance
miss the city inside (reminiscent
of an old
vacuum tube chassis).
This is an unexpected metaphor that, perhaps the only reason
I like it because I appreciate fine woodworking, and Melanie
plays the violin.
This is just plain funny - too ridiculous to be real, but
then that's why it's funny.
Well, maybe if the ringside female support staff associated
with professional wrestling was also included in the image...
I remember seeing this kind of thing in a Bugs Bunny cartoon
back in the 1960s - not exactly original.
I'm guessing the creators of this ad are surfers and hope
others will appreciate the juxtaposing of ideas. Maybe it does.
Send me your candidates with a short blurb
about why you like or dislike them, and I will be glad to include them
here (with appropriate credit).
- Kirt Blattenberger