STUPID Ad Campaign



“You don’t have to know what you’re looking for.  You just have to start looking.”

I really tried to be patient with these commercials.  But I saw an Ancestry commercial one too many times.  I am duty-bound now to unleash my contempt.

The premise for the service itself is great.  After all, who isn’t just a bit curious about their own history?   Curiosity is what keeps humankind seeking to do more, see more, learn more, and accomplish more.  That’s what makes sociologists study aborigines and primitive cultures and communities.  That’s why record keepers document events for future generations to learn.  Ultimately, that’s why scientists and astronomers unceasingly seek to learn the origins of the universe, the earliest life as we know it, and evidence of life’s building blocks in the most inhospitable locations.

It follows, then, that looking up your family tree and finding out where you’ve come from and how your ancestors got together is a noble goal.    THEREIN LIES THE PROBLEM!  This entire ad campaign is based on an aimless pursuit, no endgame necessary.  I understand reverse psychology, but so do most of the adult population who would pay for such a service in the first place.  (Ok, so maybe I’m giving grown humans too much credit, but, come on!) seeks to pique your curiosity so that you WILL start looking.  But, contrary to their tagline, they DO expect you to have a goal in mind.  Otherwise, why would you buy their service in order to find it?  How can you have any direction whatsoever without a goal? Are sprinters supposed to just start running without knowing where the finish line is? Are airplanes supposed to just take off without a destination in mind?  I got it!  Farmers are supposed to break their backs every day working hard on a farm all season, but instead of planning what they’re going to grow, they just reach into their handy-dandy sack of “I don’t know” and pull out seeds for “something” just so they can say they started growing!

That’s my rant for the day.



  1. Sometimes we ask high-hope questions and make high-hope quests – we don’t always like what we find – what annoys me about this “ancestry dot com” thing and their adds is that they don’t show what the **typical** ‘find’ is. . . My sister, years ago, decided to jump on the ‘family tree’ thing – long before computers/internet. We’re of Irish and Croatian descent (yeah, I know. . .) and she was certain that she was at least a Eurpoean princess – not. On the Croat side, she -did- find out we are decendents of gypsies – fortune tellers; the irish were merely horse thieves and bootleggers – oh, and there was an aunt who was a hooker in Chicago. Never see THAT stuff on the ads for – do ya’????

  2. OK, hands up, sheepish look, going slightly red. I have done the genealogy search, not through, through the old fashioned way, albeit on the interweb, (!). I was able to find out a lot, I’ve got back to the early 1700’s. Found the Mortlock Islands, in the South Seas, but don’t think I’m a part owner!!! And, of course, a few went over to Australia on the convict ships, these, I think, were more closely related to my side of the family!!!! But, I think it is a good thing to have done the search, gives a feeling of having belonged.You should try it, but do what I did and start with the census.

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