My Two Cents, Part II
Overall review: Some fun short films, but not much advertising.
Toyota “It’s Reinvented”: This is a funny commercial. Depending, that is, on one’s taste — always a challenge with humor. But this commercial is also a serious case of “we couldn’t come up with a new way to say ‘buy this car,’ so we created a farce instead.” The spot may promote awareness — so far, Hulu viewers have voted it their favorite — provided you remember the sponsor and not just the gags. But either way, “awareness increases sales” is a myth the ad industry seems to believe and hopes clients believe. That’s because, compared with creating sales, creating awareness is easy.
Volkswagen “Bark Side”: Adorable. I love dogs. This spot makes me like the people who cooked it up. Doesn’t make me want to buy a VW. (I am, however, more seriously considering getting a dog.) And I can tell you that in that regard I am not statically unique. That’s the trouble with commercials that are purely entertaining while bereft of a claim or benefit. Plus, is it just me, or is there something off-puttingly self-congratulatory about a spot whose main objective seems to be not to feature a product, but to pay homage to last year’s spot?
Volkswagen “The Dog Strikes Back”: Ditto, except not really adorable. As for the Darth Vader gag at the end, the word that comes to mind is “reaching.”
Honda “Matthew’s Day Off”: Looks like another desperate creative team that couldn’t come up with a fresh way to say ‘buy this car.’ I wonder what percentage of this year’s viewers (1) saw the referenced movie and, of those who did, (2) remember it and, of those who do, (3) remember it fondly and, of those who do, (4) will transfer that fondness to Honda and, of those who do, (5) will buy the car as a result. But on the positive side, at least the ad agency gets to brag about getting to meet Matthew Broderick.
Bridgestone “Don’t Underestimate the Beadle”: Maybe I would get this were I a sports fan. Admittedly, I am not part of the Super Bowl-watching demographic. I have enough trouble remembering which sport all the fuss is even about. (Football, right?)
Chevrolet: “2012”: Kudos to Chevy for remembering to make a product claim. Funny how many so-called advertising experts forget to do that, and go for entertainment value in its place. And how many clients buy it.
Doritos: “Man’s Best Friend”: One of few spots this year that actually tries to sell the product. Sure, it’s hyperbole, but at least it has a claim, namely, that Doritos are good enough to buy the silence of a cat owner’s spouse. Plus the spot is danged fun. If you take offense at the alleged violence against cats, you’re thinking too hard. Should a dog someday be brought up on cat-icide charges and use the Doritos Defense, I’ll apologize.
Chrysler “Halftime in America”: A bit schmaltzy for my taste, but that is neither here nor there, as I am but a focus group of one. As for those who claim that the spot is a covert Obama plug, all I can say is, Oh come on.
Audi: “Vampire Party”: OK, fine, the creative team found a unique and memorable way to say “this car has LED headlights.” But in advertising, it’s usually a good idea to translate a feature into a relevant benefit. I suppose if vampires are a problem in your neighborhood, this spot succeeds.
Sketchers: “GOrun Mr. Quiggly”: In the tradition of the old PF Flyers commercials (remember those?), the spot essentially says “these shoes will make you run faster.” Trouble is, the spot doesn’t demonstrate the claim. Hmm. Could it be because we all know that a shoe can’t really do that? Which makes me think the creative team might have worked a little harder to come up with a viable claim. On the other hand, perhaps I am being a bit too literal-minded, as I am wont to do. Perhaps the spot’s real objective is to say, “Sketchers are cool.” In that case, I leave it to you as to whether it pulls it off.