Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Today in viral videos

Yesterday and today, I saw two different videos being shared around. They’re both ads, of a sort, both funny, and worth sharing. I have a comment or two about each.

The first video, up top, is a “spec ad” for Tide To Go, a product of an American laundry detergent company. A spec ad is one made in the hope that it is picked up and used by the manufacturer. There is an actual gay-inclusive ad for Tide Canada that Procter and Gamble has not yet had the courage to air in the United States.

This spec ad was shared on Facebook by the director, Mark Nickelsburg, and last I looked it had nearly 890,000 views, most of that over the past couple days. The ad stars Matt Marr, Karl Ramsey, and Lynne Marie Stewart. Stewart was best known to me for having played Miss Yvonne, “the most beautiful woman in Puppetland” on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse (1986-90).

The ad was shot in June and is not a direct mocking of that Kentucky county clerk, as some have suggested, but merely uses the trope of a religious bigot as the set up. The fact that her lines don’t sound quite “right” is meant to be part of the gag’s set up, and I suppose it works in that sense, but how else would the gay boys react other than as they did, given the lines she says?

I like the ad, the acting, even the premise, but the dialogue is a little lame. I prefer the Tide Canada ad, which also uses humour, of course. Mainly, I just want to see ad campaigns that include gay couples, something that’s becoming more and more common in this part of the world. Apparently, the USA needs to catch up.

Speaking of New Zealand advertising, here’s the next video, posted online a few days ago:

I think this is absolutely brilliant—part practical joke, part genuine ad, and a lot of fun. The ad (which I haven't yet seen on TV) is for New Zealand electricity company Energy Online, and what it refers to is that the company doesn’t send salespeople door-to-door to entice customers to switch power companies, something that used to be common. In fact, it became one of the most complained-about door-to-door selling techniques in the country, because they were intrusive, persistent, and frequent. As far as I know, all the electricity companies have quit door-to-door sales.

Which is why the tagline is “door knocking so last century”, because it really is. And what a great way to call attention to their promise of great deals online—although, it’s always best to check Powerswitch to compare rates actually switching power companies in order to find the best deal for a household's particular needs.

Video ads work best when they’re memorable, fun, and drive home a point. I think both these ads do that, and in a way that makes sharing them almost guaranteed.

Kudos to the makers of both ads.

Update September 17: It turns out, I forgot about a different power company's ads, and I talk about that—and share another ad—in a new post.

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