VW China’s spot last year introducing the new Beetle stood out from the thousands of other ads on Chinese television running at the same time. First of all, the production value was high. Savvy ad watchers could easily discern that this was a global production; homegrown ads don’t have this type of production value. But mostly, the creative was outstanding. Who doesn’t get a kick out of watching a bunch of cute old folk running around trying their hand at young people activities such as surfing, skateboarding, and head-banging at a punk show?
The spot was good. It was cute, it was memorable, and most importantly for marketers, it shared the brand’s voice.
Cut two a few months later during the sweaty and high caloric advertising orgy that is the Superbowl. One of the more praised ads from the commentators was Taco Bell’s “Viva Young” spot, which finds a crew of old-timers escaping their nursing home reality and embarking on a whirlwind of unbridled chaos. We’re treated to shots of old folks grinding at a club, getting inked, taunting innocent diners with a decrepit nipple, and carnal activities with young men in bathrooms.
Awfully familiar concepts…but goddamn it, this can’t be a rip-off, can it? Ad agencies NEVER recycle ideas! Aren’t rebellious elderly universally side-splitting, just like dancing babies and talking animals?
Well, it’s actually one of a series of spots produced by Stockhom based production houseCamp David for Education First language schools. Those of us living in Shanghai will recognize their bizarre “Chinese person tied to a white person” print ads from a few years back (FYI I can’t find any more of those on their website). I looks like with this new spot, they’ve definitely turned it up a cinematic notch. Great cinematography, editing, typography, music, and direction overall. Almost makes me want to become a white person and move to Beijing and prance with the locals.
Here’s a new viral spot from my beloved old employer Intel:
This is a damn good spot. The idea of someone running around the desktop environment isn’t that new, but this high-end execution that utilizes all the familiar time-killing sites we’ve come to know and love should fulfill agency Venables Bell and Partner’s goal of getting this into viral paradise. And unlike other stuff that’s there, this one actually speaks to the the product (Intel’s processing power), and isn’t just about getting the oooh’s and aaah’s. Although it seems my erstwhile stodgy old employer knows how to get those too. Nice job.
This Mentos ad cracked me up. It starts off wearing the cloak of melodrama shared by millions of other Asia-Pacific TVCs and music videos, then uses a cartoonish gag that keeps Mentos propped up as a fun and brand for young and sophisticated Chinese consumers. Just the demographic that star agency BBH aims to win over. Nice job to BBH’s Johnny Tan and his creative team.
Some political group called Citizens Against Government Waste has wasted a bunch of their citizens’ money by paying for Asian actors and a green screen set for a rightist propaganda shoot that will no doubt scare a ton of people into voting Republican next week. Never mind that the “great recession” mentioned in the clip was a direct result of financial scammers and speculators being unleashed into the great unregulated void of American capitalism. Asian actors in dark lit rooms with old Chinese music playing in the background are scary! The downfall of America’s greatness is scary! That this political ad will be so effective to so many people is the scariest of them all!
Not sure which agency (most likely a local one) took a crack at this campaign, but I never understand why they don’t spend just a little bit more dough to singers who can actually sing the jingle in decent English. Visually, there’s nothing wrong with this Roewe spot, which successfully highlights the 3G features of the new sedan. But that terrible Chinese-accented English singing in the background is so distracting to anyone with a decent grasp of the language, that it takes away from the spot’s messaging. Even though Roewe is targeting itself to local mid-upper classers, a lot of them speak English and a lot of them will pick up on the horrible accents singing the background tune. Just not all of them will blog about it.