I Hate You, Papyrus Font
Watching the commercials in between the
Vegas-rigged SuperBowl on Sunday, I was left unimpressed. The marketing/ad staff of major corporations had a year to conceptualize, write, shoot, focus-group, and edit a piece that costs a billion dollars a second, and overall, in my opinion, they failed to deliver. Pepsi, Budweiser, M&Ms, Go Daddy…nope. The one commercial I actually liked (The Doritos Goat commercial) was written/shot and submitted as part of an amateur contest. Huh.
The image of Pepsi marketeers/suits sitting at a round table green-lighting horse-shit commercials got me thinking about the psychology behind marketing: Color schematics, logo arrangement, and fonts; the visual sells for companies/restaurants/and how these elements impact our mind brains.
My new(ish) job requires some copywright, which has created a constant awareness in what I’m being sold. What do people respond to? What words, colors? What turns potential customers off?
There are commercials on TV that absolutely boggle my mind, in a bad way. One spot here in the US for Coors/ Molson especially, shows a hot, steamy city where beautiful people are sweating to death waiting for something…
A winter wisp cools the air, the people are curious. What’s that sound? A train? Then, The Silver Bullet rockets down the street to happy tunes of The O’Jays’ ‘Love Train’, bringing cool weather, snow flurries, beer, and a party to everyone.
Satiating blues, snow saturated landscapes of white-capped Rockies brought to drab Urban settings by a happy runaway train. This commercial makes my eye twitch uncontrollably, and when I can, I avoid drinking Coors because:
1. A love train doesn’t mean the same thing it did when the O’Jay’s wrote the song.
2. Logistically, a runaway train sans a proper rail system would kill thousands of people.
3. Trains can’t change the weather. Ask China.
Board member – “Jim, let’s see your proposal for the commercial?”
Jim – “I don’t know…like, a speeding bullet train brings beer to pretty people in a hot city. Then it like, starts to fucking snow or whatever….”
Board member – “Oh my god! That is the greatest idea I’ve ever heard in my entire life you are a genius here’s a million gold coins and the keys to my yacht and a picture of my wife’s nips”
I’ve actually emailed Molson telling them how terrible their commercial is, offering my services as a writer (I cold-pitched them another play on ‘The Silver Bullet’ phrase, where a Werewolf walks into a bar, and orders a Coors (No response)). But they’ve stuck with this concept for YEARS! Which means, it’s working.
Have you had a Coors? It tastes like water, and there’s a temperature activated component in the can that tells you if it’s cold or not….because I don’t have feeling in either of my hands to tell me such things, or can’t relate length of refrigerator stays to coolness of product.
Basically, Coors advertising campaign consists of a live Newport Pleasure ad, mixed with Hyper-Color cans. Bravo Molson, you’re stuck in the 80′s.
Mickey D’s and Quasimodo
McDonald’s (McObesity), uses Red and Yellow in their logo. The combination of the two colors are meant to excite you/grab your attention, instigate hunger, and make you leave the restaurant quickly…well, the latter is perpetuated by the creepiest mascot ever know to man – a clown named Ronald.
Can you imagine being the parents of the guy who plays Ronald McDonald on TV?
Actor – “Hey, Mom. Guess What?!”
Mom – “What, Dear?”
Actor – “I got that part I auditioned for!!!!”
Mom – “Oh, Sweetie, that’s amazing! Congrats! Harold?! He got the part, pick up the phone!”
Harold (dad) picks up the phone “Hello, Son! You got the part!?”
Actor – “Yeah. Mom, Dad….I’m going to play Ronald McDonald!”
Mom – “You’re uninvited to christmas. Don’t ever fucking call here again, Clown.”
Dad - click
But there’s something worse than the Coors love train; worse than McDonald’s. It’s out there, lurking in new age shops, and chocolate lounges; the most despicable element in marketing; a no-no worse than deconstructing popular songs for your commercial just enough to not get sued by the artist; an element that brings me to anger faster than Ray Lewis’ hypocrisies; something worse than Comic Sans, the Quasimodo of fonts: Papyrus.
My lady, Marti can attest, every time I see a “funky” new “Loungebar” pop-up here in Columbus with a “cool” awning with name written in Papyrus Font, I scream “Papyrus Font!!!!” as loud as I can, so the purveyors can hear my disdain.
Hate is a strong word, but just seeing the faux-Sanskrit used in design/print/commercials makes me physically upset. I’m really not kidding when I say Papyrus font generates a negative emotional response in my brain, perhaps tapping a previous Egytian life where I was a palm frond fanner for the Ra, dying from a King ordered cobra kiss.
When I see professional websites designed with Papyrus I second guess the brand. It’s lazy, overused, and makes sense one of the most self-aggrandizing
pieces of shit movies of all time, ‘Avatar’, is in PAPYRUS FONT.
I’m not alone in this anti-Papyrus crusade.
There’s a site called Papyruswatch.com, that documents all Papyrus fonts that show up in marketing (I borrowed the featured photo from their site).
Pretty self-explanatory website here: http://fontsthatsuck.com/index.php/category/papyrus-font-sucks/
Made the top-5 on this site: http://www.prepressure.com/fonts/interesting/most-hated
Maybe I’m just being cynical here, or maybe I just enjoy creativity. We’re bombarded everyday with advertisements, and I’d like to think the people behind them respect us enough to put thought and effort into their campaign.
So, I’m very curious, what drives you crazy in marketing/commercials? Is there anything you like? – Mike