By Chuck Woodbury
Early in my career, when I was an aspiring capitalist, I subscribed to the weekly bible of the advertising industry, Advertising Age.
I remember an article about food photography. Two photos were displayed. The first was of a McDonald’s Big Mac from a magazine advertisement. If you were hungry, it made you drool. The burger looked gorgeous, amazing! I’m sure a lot of money was spent on a great photographer with perfect lighting and everything else just right.
Then, beside the photo was a snapshot of another Big Mac, one the article’s author had just purchased at his local McDonald’s. Yikes! What a difference! It was all squished up, and in no way appealing unless you were absolutely starving, in which case a photo of cardboard would look good.
THEN THERE’S KOA. I received an email today from the company pitching fall camping at its parks. You can see the photo above used to illustrate the advertisement. This is the equivalent in the RV world to the first Big Mac as portrayed by the ad agency.
The campsite is stunning, the grass cut, everything in place, a checkered tablecloth on the picnic table, and a forest behind — not another camper in sight, pretty much a common sight at a KOA, right?
I just love the couple dancing. Let’s see … I have been RVing for close to four decades and I cannot ever recall seeing a couple dance in front of their campsite. In this photo, even though you can’t see it, they’re likely standing right on the park road. Oh, they are so happy!
Okay, it’s advertising. That’s what you do if you’re an ad agency, you show the best and hope the image and what it represents will sink into a prospective customer’s subconscious. Then, when they book their next camping adventure, they might think “I want to stay at KOA where everything is so pretty and I can dance in the street.”
Okay, I am being sarcastic. Yes, anyone who has traveled with an RV very long who stays in RV parks, whether KOA or any other, knows scenes like the one pictured above are the exceptions, not the rule. But, really, the dancing couple is just too much! It’s so totally out of touch with reality that it cracks me up. Love it!