Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jumpers and HP

Has everyone seen this by now?

The concept is smart – instead of using advertising to place products in movies, why not turn things on their head and integrate movies into TV ads, right? The idea has potential, but the execution is in this case is incredibly uncomfortable. Hayden Christensen as “David Rice” is hopping in and out of a boiler plate HP commercial - somebody famous’ torso with cool computer graphics illustrating how their lives are so much cooler, yet similar to ours because they use their computers to create visual representations that cannot be done with the software that comes in the box. I’ve digressed.

The discomfort comes in the juxtaposition of the jumper and the tried and true and honestly pretty cool look and feel of the HP commercial. Since you can’t see the facial expressions of Serena Williams (HP Hero) it feels very forced. Ultimately the two never explicitly and directly acknowledge each other, which is very awkward. There are a few attempts, Serena mumbles “Hey, get out of here” and Hayden responds “Yeah, yeah”, but it simply doesn’t work. The whole time you’re on the couch wondering A) How long is this freaking commercial, because I think they’ve gotten out of the huddle right now and I’m missing a blow out and B) Is this for real? What am I supposed to buy again? The former is a typical male 18 to 95 yrs old football enthusiast reaction, but the latter is due in part, to the fact that there are eight brands mentioned in this 1 ½ minute spot.

Count them:

  1. 20th Century Fox (starts off trailer)
  2. Jumpers Movie (starts commercial as trailer)
  3. Mercedes Benz (jumps through window at beginning of commercial)
  4. Microsoft (remote control and logo on TV)
  5. HP (Serena commercial)
  6. Nike (Serena’s new clothing design)
  7. Andre 3000 (weird, random mug-shot)
  8. Aneras (Serena's clothing line at the end)

I’m not saying this isn’t a good idea. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this in the Super Bowl this year. With :30 second spot pricing persistently shooting through the roof and the medium becoming closer and closer to cave man writings on walls it seems to make sense to split the multiple millions over a brand or two, but eight….seriously?

Cynically speaking – I noticed the ad, which to be honest at this point is all TV is basing their numbers on. I guarantee you that anyone with a full beer and two minutes’ worth of potato chips; since running out of one of the two of those are the only legitimate reason(s) to leave the couch during a football game; noticed the ad. So now we have the all too frequent advertising morality question – have we, the keepers of TV sunk to a new low in that it’s better to sacrifice the consumers’ opinion/experience with the brand for the sake of distributing air time costs to partners and thus there’s more money in the budget for……….crap? I’ve become considerably disillusioned with the over-the-top, primitive beer commercials that ran in the last two Super Bowls, but in all honestly, I’d prefer to see the stray dog longing to be the Dalmatian in the horse-drawn (don’t get me started) fire wagon then some confusing tennis commercial that makes me want to punch a grown Anikan Skywalker in the stomach for interrupting. Budweiser may have momentarily abandoned the pursuit of pointless hilarity, but at least they didn’t give the Clydesdales fleas.

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