Capital One serves up God-awful campaign befitting the credit crisis.
January 1, 2009
Mentos -So bad it’s good?
First –please don’t be upset with me for not coming up with a themed post about last year or the new one. Fun as those are, we seem inundated with such writings. I’m just going to dive into 2009, in spite of the cold water!
Back when Altoids was having its big run in the 90s, a surprising competitor emerged from nowhere via a bunch of whacked out TV commercials. The brand was Mentos (famous again for blowing up in Diet Coke) and the spots were like nothing else on television. They were so damn bad you couldn’t take your eyes off them. Hopelessly contrived scenarios where terrible, fake-American actors solve ludicrous problems using Mentos, “the fresh maker!”
Read that last sentence again. I’ll highlight it for you. Hopelessly contrived scenarios where terrible, fake-American actors solve ludicrous problems using Mentos, “the fresh maker!” Where to begin? That screwy tagline? These commercials were so perilously bad, for so many reasons, you just couldn’t cipher them.
Were they purposefully awful? At first I didn’t think so. The bad casting seemed sincere. It appeared the filmmakers were trying. Yet, each commercial was as flawed as the next. Even after all the criticism, and there was plenty, Mentos kept serving up these surreal messes. The Internet was not as dominant a force as it is now but the speculation was rampant. Were these commercials for real or just plain bad? I still don’t have a definitive answer. If any readers have some info on the “fresh maker” please let me know!
I bring all this up because Capital One’s “What’s in your wallet?” campaign is coming dangerously close to this so-bad-it’s-good territory. Unfortunately, for them and us, these insipid spots are neither legitimately funny nor unintentionally camp. They just blow. In particular the last two commercials. In their holiday offering, Santa endeavors to customize his credit card using elfin technology. It’s a loud and garish affair. See for yourself.
Capital One -So bad it’s bad.
The very latest commercial is by far the worst. It features a group of shipwrecked buffoons “lost” on the proverbial deserted island. The brainy professor has configured a computer from God knows what but instead of trying to call for help he’s configuring a credit card. It too, is loud, busy and gaudy. The filmmakers have crammed so many people and crap into the film that the contents threaten to spew out of our TVs. With all the chaos onscreen, it plays like an episode of Gilligan’s Island dubbed in Spanish. Except that would be funny and this isn’t.
The other thing I don’t get is why customizing a credit card on line is worth all this fanfare. The credit industry is a shambles right now and highly culpable. You’d think such superficial ranting and raving about minor perks would be toned down or eliminated altogether. Capital One comes across as out of touch, even irresponsible.
Yet, something about this campaign must be working. They keep making commercials, not to mention flooding our mailboxes with DM. Am I missing something? Does everybody but me have a Capital One card in his or her wallet? If so, why?