April 13, 2010

Singing, Shaving and Eating Chips


At ad:tech's conference this week, Sarah Fay, president of Aegis Group's Isobar U.S. network, pointed out that most video advertising opportunities online are still user-initiated (via Adweek). That means that an advertiser must depend on its audience's goodwill to open an ad.

Either that, or the ad needs to be damn good.

In other words, she was saying, the quality of the creative product in advertising must rise to meet the demands of consumers.

Hot dog, I say. I look forward eagerly to the time when I watch video ads because of the quality of the creative, rather than because I have to.

That being said, I did come across some video today that I watched several times just for fun. I'm not exactly the targeted audience for this one, so I can't say how successful the campaign is in convincing people to purchase. Come to think of it, though, I'm tempted to buy the product for the man in my life (enough said).

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"Shave Everywhere"

The video is on a website for the Philips Norelco Bodygroom. Apparently, Norelco had a limited budget for the launch of this product, and knew that it was competing against Proctor & Gamble in a crowded space.

Instead of a traditional campaign, it hoped to harness some word-of-mouth by launching this wonderfully simple site. Someone in the marketing department showed remarkable restraint on this one. The video is nearly the only thing on the site. No additional products, no extraneous information about the groomer.

Instead, there's simply a well-groomed man. In a bathrobe. Speaking in a deep voice that could be that of Jim Carrey doing an imitation of an earnest salesman.

"If you're here, you probably know that body grooming is a sensitive issue," he says. "Grooming your back, chest, (bleep), and (bleep), demands a certain delicacy that may have been difficult to attain. Until now."

There's plenty more, with a lot more bleeping, and it's pretty funny. It's also a smart way to talk about the issue of men who wish to shave areas other than their faces - a topic which has gotten a lot of play in movies and sitcoms in the last year or so but which has yet to become a mainstream topic of conversation (thank goodness).

What's wonderful about the video is that it takes itself seriously, but is not meant to be taken seriously. Also nice is the fact that navigation is minimal: you can click on "buy now," which simply gives you a minimal list of stores (Target, Amazon and Drugstore.com), or you can click on "Tell a Friend" (which I might just do).

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The Phantom of Late Night

CBS posted this clip on YouTube, proving that the entertainment space as always has a leg up on other advertisers when it comes to content.

It's a clip of Will Ferrell singing a song from Phantom of the Opera on an episode of Late Night with David Letterman. Ferrell dons a phantom-like mask and proceeds to sing (in a surprisingly pleasant voice) the most-recognized tune from the musical. Fans of the show, of course, will note that none of the words are as they were originally written, which becomes more apparent when Ferrell begins to make up words in a foreign language, ad lib ("I am the Phantom, my real name is Jerry), and finally break down into blah-blah-blahs.

The YouTube clip links to the Late Night with David Letterman website.

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"She Took the Doritos"

I went back to see if anyone had posted a commercial for the Doritos Super Bowl challenge, and found that there are five. One of them is pretty good; another is pretty wonderful.

The good one is titled Broken Hearted. It focuses on a dingy man talking about how his wife done him wrong. "She took the kids, she took the dog, she took the remote for the TV, she took the Doritos," he drones. "Left me here watching some kind of girly movie like there's some magic button I could push to make the game come on. Man, I sure do miss those Doritos."

The fun bit of the ad comes when the man, at a loss for how to change the television station, attempts to create his own remote control.

The wonderful one is called Ninja, the Strongman and a Pirate. It features the "director" of the ad, beret and all, lamenting the fact that the filming of the Doritos ad isn't going well: the talent keeps eating the product. The best shot is that of a pirate wearing a bitten Dorito for an eye patch.

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As for the strongman, "Yeah, he turned out to be a little wacky," the director admits, as the actor in question rolls gleefully around in a wading pool filled with crushed chips. He adds, in a tone of weary acceptance, "You just have to move on and go with what you've got. Otherwise you never finish the project."

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