Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Ads Say the Darndest Things

Google ads have always interested me. Especially the ones that pop up in your Gmail windows and on the top of this webpage, because they select ads that target for specific keywords. Since I have been posting about the brain so often, there are "brain"-related advertisements at the top of this page. If you actually start reading them, you might become very amused and confused.

See below for an informal analysis of four Google ads based on three categories:

Relevance of Need - Is there a demand for the product or service?
Literary Value of a Two-Sentence Ad - Is the ad coherent and persuasive?
Website - Does the website address inspire confidence?

All categories will be judged and awarded "brain points" on a 0-5 scale (5 highest).

Brain Cancer Treatment
Leading-Edge Research & Innovation From Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

Relevant Need: 5 brain points - cancer patients and families need to find treatments for life-threatening diseases.
Literary Value: 5 brain points - "High-impact" words like "leading edge research and innovation" capture your attention.
Website: 5 brain points - Cedars-Sinai...almost as cool as UCSF...

This normal ad has been included as a "control."

Neuroscience Lab Manuals
Sheep Brain Dissection Guides Stereotaxic Surgery Manual

Relevant Need: 1 brain point - Why does the general public need sheep brain dissection guides? What is "stereotaxic" surgery?
Literary Value: 2 brain points - Interesting but totally incoherent words explode like dizzying Pop Rocks on my prefrontal cortex...is this a whole sentence or two nouns pasted together? "Sheep Brain Dissection Guides" and "Stereotaxic Surgery Manual"?
Website: 0 brain points - Exudes "scam"...I mean "spam."

Activate your Brain & IQ
Lab proven to amplify IQ, brain functions & intelligence. It's easy

Relevant Need: 5 brain points - people are always looking for quick and easy ways to get richer, smarter, and thinner...the rationale behind this ad makes sense to me.
Literary Value: 5 brain points - At first, I was confused because the ad didn't specify how it would activate my IQ...but the website address suggests through music? Never mind that -- IT'S EASY!
Website: 4 brain points - iMusic?

Brain Pictures
Browse a huge selection now. Find exactly what you want today.

Relevant Need: 1 brain point - This advertisement REALLY confused me. Why do people need brain pictures so badly? WHY do we need to PAY for them? Are people looking for specific brain pictures of OTHER people? Do they have something "exact" in mind?
Literary Value: 0 brain points - Two sentences have left me even more confused. This is an ad for "Brain Pictures," NOT audio CDs or DVDs? But it says, "Browse a huge selection now. Find exactly what you want today." Unless there are hundreds of people out there with a fetish for brain imaging, I'm not sure why the vendors even bothered paying for this advertisement.
Website: 0 brain points - EBAY? Let me get this straight -- EBAY is paying to advertise the large selection of BRAIN PICTURES that people are selling on the website?

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