Post 05.6.14 – Oregon V.S. POM

It’s tough when people criticize your work product. Especially in this business, the ad business, where we put a lot of time and thought and creativity into projects, it is difficult to be subjected to criticisms. We expect our peers to be respectful and constructive. We let clients be more than honest with feedback. But suppose the media picks up your work, and then criticizes it in a very public way? I can’t imagine how I would react…

This past week, we were treated to 2 very distinct responses to the same situation. On the Sunday, April 27th airing of HBO’s new comedy show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, two different brands were publicly humiliated by the acerbic English comic.

In the first sequence (links below) Portland ad agency North defends it’s work in a blog post, after Oliver pointed blame at Oregonians for their failed healthcare website, and it’s exorbitant price tag of ¼ Billion dollars.

Oliver skewers Oregon’s TV ad.

North Chief Creative Officer Mark Ray responded in a blog post titled, ”Yes, John Oliver, We Are Stupid Fucking Idiots.”

The post is well-written, and he defends his team and his work, but this may not have the best way to handle the situation.

On the other hand, POM Wonderful, was Royally skewered by Oliver, who called the product “snake oil” and accused them of using dogs in the formula. Funny stuff, but Pom’s letter back to Oliver (with a fridge full of Pom Wonderful) got noticed and the the host LOVED the letter.

POM Wonderful’s Response.

Kudos to POM for a funny, brilliant way to handle the PR “crisis.”

Oregon agency North exacerbated a big fail, but POM’s agency, LA-based Fire Station got the last laugh.


David Saunders
President & Chief Idea Officer