I was checking my email at work yesterday, and this banner ad caught my eye:
In case the image has yet to fully hit you over the head with a giant stick of what the fuck, let me write this sentence: it’s a pterodactyl, with state abbreviations scattered across his body. And he wants to help you find a lower mortgage rate. Right. Now, I’ve previously seen the peacock, caterpillar, weenie dog, and disturbingly penis-like elongated pig versions of this ad, but the pterodactyl strikes me as the strangest. First of all, whaaa? Secondly, look at him! This dude isn’t looking to help you save money! He’s flying around LOOKING FOR PREY. He will fucking ERASE you!
Having logged a few miserable years in the creative department of a few advertising agencies, I couldn’t help but imagine the brainstorm that led to this creation. I have no doubt that it was led by a guy like my old creative director, a total arthole who wore a thumb ring and looked like Junior Gorg from Fraggle Rock and was always closing his office door and putting on Candlebox so he could “concept.”
“So I have this idea, and stay with me here, because it might seem a little out there at first, but so did the eBike campaign at first, right? Anyway, it’s like this pterodactyl, with tiny old-fashioned cash register keys representing each of the 50 states spread all across his glorious wingspan. And he helps you find lower interest rates! Or refinance your mortgage; whatever; we can deal with that in the copy. A pterodactyl. PT. It was a flying dinosaur. No, no, not a T-Rex, Dave. Well, for one, too obvious, plus I think the T-Rex is more of a college loan dinosaur. Just stay with me for a second and hear me out. Did I let you down on the bank thing with the snowboarders? No, thank you. Anyway, so this pterodactyl. Maybe the sky behind him is like this freaky purple prehistoric electrical storm? Totally end times weather? And we make it so he moves his head and opens his beak really menacingly, but also really awkwardly? Maybe there’s some blood or shredded muscles in his beak? Were pterodactyls meat-eaters? When the intern gets back from lunch, let’s get her to google that. No? Too gory? God, you fucking account managers are always afraid of the big ideas, Dave! The one thing that would push it from being a good ad to a great ad, the thing that would fucking win me the Addy, and you’re too scared to make that leap. No, no, fine, forget it. No shredded muscles, just the purple storm. Let’s be safe for the client. Whatever, man. I’ll be in my office blaring Seven Mary Three and putting all my headlines in lowercase Courier New if anyone needs me.”