(First in a 2-part series examining a current campaign.)
If you’re an ad, you want to be a campaign when you grow up. And that’s true of all kinds of ads: print, television, radio, out-of-home, digital, heck – even cinema pre-rolls! Because the campaign is the cool big brother in advertising.
There are lots of one-offs running around the agency: that newspaper insertion for the little client who can’t afford to sustain an effort for more than a day or two. The radio promo offer from the company who still thinks “they don’t need a brand, just more sales.” That lonely billboard out on route 139.
But campaigns are different. Campaigns are cool. Campaigns keep going and getting cooler and smarter, and testing well and trying new things, and introducing new angles. They’re fun at parties. And they’re great at keeping a brand front and center with an audience.
But only if they have legs.
Not sure what legs are? Here’s an example. Check out the current campaign for DirecTV featuring Rob Lowe.
By my count, there are about a half dozen executions thus far and the simple setup has allowed for countless new executions. “Hi, I’m Rob Lowe” kicks off every spot, and then it’s followed by “and I’m [some other] Rob Lowe.” We’ve seen “super creepy” Rob Lowe, “tiny arms” Rob Lowe, “meathead” Rob Lowe, “overly paranoid” Rob Lowe, and I suspect we’ll see others in the near future.
The legs in this campaign come straight out of the simple messaging which is delivered through the creative, and are helped along greatly by the really good, really offbeat Lowe performances, not to mention a little CGI magic. In each situation, DirecTV takes a direct shot (see what I did there?) at cable (and in some way, cable customers.) The jokes are funny enough to keep you interested, and the narratives bounce along at such a nice rhythm, they’re hard not to watch and enjoy.
This campaign comes off WAY better than their former campaign where the brand urged you to “get rid of cable” before you suffer some awful fate, like “stranded man.”
The executions were just weird, and not very good in terms of giving consumers a simple selling message they could remember. (From the looks of it, it was also likely targeted at a fairly narrow audience that may not have represented the greatest conversion potential.)
Of course the real juice is that in each execution of the current campaign, DirecTV comes off as a suave hero. Or maybe not even a hero, but just a really cool, really mature alternative to cable. The features are relayed clearly by the smooth and handsome Lowe, and the benefits are punctuated by taking direct shots at cable’s less-than-ours features. Thanks to an actor that doesn’t take himself too seriously, it’s likely there are more fun executions on the way from this campaign. And yes, there will be more on the way…this one’s got great legs.
But wait…there’s more. Is it possible that this is NOT a good campaign? Is it possible these are NOT great ads? We’ll look at that in a follow-up post in a day or two.
Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.