April 16, 2012
You look good enough to eat…
“If you love bacon, make it official.” And sure enough the guy marries a BLT cheeseburger from Jack in the Box. At the wedding, the priest blesses the happy couple and his final line is no less priceless for being obvious: “You may eat the bride.”
Doing a little research I discovered the commercial actually first ran on the Superbowl. How did I miss it? Maybe its silliness got lost in the shuffle. Maybe it ran pre-game, or regionally. Whatever. It’s worth another look.
Bottom line the commercial is funny and it makes sense. Guys love bacon. A TV spot that takes this true love to its obvious conclusion is, well, on strategy. Think about it. For all the advertising that tries to sell bacon as the ultimate accouterment on a hamburger none, as far as I know, did the obvious. Congrats to Jack in the Box for doing so.
Over the years, Jack in the box has made some pretty damn fine commercials, using one of America’s finest, if under the radar, creative agencies: Secret Weapon. While McDonalds and Burger King get all the publicity, JITB might be the better case study, creatively.
When I first started in this business my father gave me a small book, called “Obvious Adams.” His then boss and now a living legend, Keith Reinhardt, had previously signed the copy. It said “All you need to know about advertising.” I gotta find that f**king book! In any event, the story was about a newbie ad executive in New York who had the courage and wisdom to offer an obvious if at first unpopular solution to a package goods company, I forget which one. Anyway, it worked.
As goofy and irreverent at Marry Bacon is it is also a textbook example of doing the obvious in the 21st century.
-Packers vs. San Francisco
-New England vs. Miami
“Bob’s a little P-O’d,” says the Green Bay Packer loving mama to the family priest, commiserating over coffee. While they chat about the new neighbors from “San Fran” Bob covertly delivers them a green and gold party platter. The cubes of salami and cheese spell “Dirt Bag.”
Another spot takes place on the “hallowed ground” of working class New England, “Foxboro.” Guys are shoveling snow when their new neighbor from Miami pulls up in his cute white car. They sneer at his obvious affiliation to the Dolphins. Throw snow at his doorstep. In a nightgown, someone’s mother opens her window and calls him a “Moron!”
The rest of the campaign is more of the same. Diehard fans hating other diehard fans encroaching on their territory. It’s blue collar. It’s stereotypical. It’s all American.
So, why do I love this campaign for DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket? Because it’s a simple, fun idea executed with gusto. There’s no jaded irony. No disenchanted slackers. Just a bunch of great characters having a good time being mean. Watching these commercials from Deutsch makes me think of the now-classic comedies of John Hughes, who, by the way, once wrote copy at Leo Burnett. There’s a bit of Joe Sedelmaier (“Where’s the beef?”) in them as well. The casting. Those funny faces. Yep, these are old-school commercials, kicked through the uprights. And I find it damn refreshing.
The film is bright and vivid, not washed out. There are no fancy cuts or special effects. Every detail has been thought through and brings a smile. Take the green and gold coffee set in the Packer’s commercial. The stylist and art director must have had a blast. Sure, the dialogue is corny. It’s supposed to be.
Directed by Harold Einstein at Station Film, the spots work. The first time and the time after that. Like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” I could watch them over and over again. Clever commercials don’t get better with age. Funny ones do.
Of the half dozen comments these spots drew on Agency Spy, only one was in favor of them. And even that one may have been sarcastic! Well, sarcasm has carried our industry far enough. On both sides of the camera. As fodder for brands it’s bankrupt. After years of Mumblecore or indie-rock infused art pieces, finally an ad campaign that works a tried and true formula to perfection.
(My only quip: I’m wondering if the Packer Mom’s nasal twang sounds more like a Vikings fan than a Packer backer, don’t you know?)
“Free credit report dot com. Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your mom.”
I think the rhyme goes something like that. At least that’s how I sing it in the shower. I’m of course referring to the silly, catchy jingle for the popular Freecreditreport.com ad campaign. The advertising from the Martin Agency is achieving cult-like status. I’ve read the Canadian born actor lip synchs the jingle. Regardless, he is now a celebrity. Good for him. Sure beats digging ditches.
Though I admire this campaign, even if I am sometimes annoyed by it, I like what another similar client has done to dramatize bad credit scores even more. Freecreditscore.com’s campaign is pure genius. Likening a bad credit score to a rogue pet, the result is both funny and strangely believable. Both are indeed hard to get rid of or improve. Seeing various furry “numbers” tearing up one’s sofa and piddling on the carpet might seem far-fetched but it really works –metaphorically and conceptually.
For one thing, the campaign’s execution is flawless. A grainy film tone perfectly captures the hard working demographic, while the scruffy, ill-mannered numbers are wonderfully low-tech and utterly realistic.
The latest spot (above), featuring a grizzled dogcatcher hunting down one such number, is my favorite by far. When the hefty man falls on his ass rounding a corner…it’s bleepin’ golden. The moment is played just right. As is the rest of the commercial.
What makes both campaigns more remarkable is they are essentially direct response television commercials. As most you know, DRTV is a hardcore selling form of TV commercial, often produced cheaply and run at odd hours. A hallmark of DRTV is the omnipresent call to action, URL and/or 800-telephone number. Done well, DRTV can be extremely effective. Most of it, by design, seldom rises above a certain aesthetic standard. That’s because DRTV was not created to build brands but to move products. (My agency, Euro RSCG Edge broke these rules a year ago with a “Cash for Gold” commercial featuring Ed McMahon and MC Hammer. Pretty damn funny. It ran on the Super Bowl!)
No doubt these campaigns are delivering users for both clients. They’ve been running for several years now. But they’re building a brands as well –charming, approachable and attractive ones at that. And for what? Number crunching websites! In my opinion, Freecreditreport.com’s inspired silliness does for credit ratings what that tetchy lizard does for Geico Insurance.
Beyond the entertainment, I’m impressed by good salesmanship. Creating an inordinate amount of drama around a “bad credit score,” and then a solution for it creates insatiable curiosity in the viewer. How can one not wonder what his or her credit score is? And now they can find it. And fix it. For free!
Just guessing but could both these clients be the same? Or are they rivals?