We have all seen those commercials for charities that make us want to look away, change the channel, or perhaps do what the makers intend: pick up the phone and call to donate. The screen shuffles through the sad faces of starving children or the dejected faces of abused puppies or kittens. These commercials surely impact us emotionally and we do feel bad that we aren’t doing more. Sometimes it seems that the commercials make people feel so bad that they don’t want to donate because they were given such a negative feeling from viewing it.
Today, I came across a TV spot with the goal of charitable donations as well, but instead of using the brute force of guilt and pity, they approached it in a clever manner. The spot does make the viewer feel somewhat guilty, but it sucks them in and generates curiosity before doing so. The commercial entails a monkey being put in a cage by itself. Another monkey is then brought into the room next to the cage and given food. The monkey on the outside, having never met the monkey on the inside, frees it from the cage so it can join him/her for the meal.
The segment is meant to generate donations to help children with cleft lip and it shows that we instinctively want to help others, while instilling that bit of guilt in our minds when we think we may not be as good as those monkeys.
And people are noticing. The new Dodge (owned by Chrysler) ads debuted over the weekend featuring Will Ferrell as his Anchorman character: Ron Burgundy. The ads are somewhat ridiculous, but in my opinion, just plain funny.
The ad campaign focuses on a single feature per spot such as horsepower, mpg, and even the glove box in an attempt to grab the attention of the viewer instead of the all too popular attempt to artfully dump a long list of features.
Because Chrysler has the smallest budget of the big three automobile companies in Detroit, they often need to take more risks to stand out and keep up with their competitors. This time they got Will Ferrell, a huge name in comedy, for free.
Well… almost free, it only cost Chrysler a short bump of Anchorman 2 at the end of each spot and some creative work, because Ferrell and his team decided to take the reins and develop their own scripts. They created most of the 70 filmed spots, some of which will not be featured on TV or Dodge’s YouTube channel, but on Ferrell’s Funny or Die website.
The campaign doesn’t just consist of video; there are also posters and print ads that all tie Ferrell’s character and the Durango together seamlessly.
My favorite feature of the campaign that I have experienced (at this point) is the display on the Dodge YouTube channel home page. As you scroll down, you see a picture of Will Ferrell doing a signature Burgundy pose with the caption: “Ready to build your Durango?”, with “yes” and “no” buttons. I moved my cursor over the “no” button just to see what would happen and….. well, see for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/user/dodge/durango
Every brand would love to have a television ad or any of their content go viral, but creating a viral video is not an easy task. It is extremely difficult to determine what people will feel inclined to share. There is no set formula for creating these viral videos and many brands attempt to create original, humorous ads that will catch fire. Unfortunately, many of them fail to take off virally.
McDonald’s recently took a slightly different approach to creating an advertisement to utilize the buzz and traffic of the internet. By imitating the idea of a widely popular video on YouTube (with over 40 million views), McDonald’s is attempting to duplicate the video’s success online to promote its newest product. Although it is not nearly as popular as the original, McDonalds’ version of “The NFL: A Bad Lip Reading” is almost at 200,000 hits after only nine days. This is much better than other McDonald’s videos on YouTube related to the same campaign, none of which top 15,000 views.
What do you think about the unique approach McDonald’s is taking?