Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The "Why the Hell?" Angle

Over at Make the Logo Bigger, one of the writers of the new giant musical production ads, John Reid, says, "The spots are all about getting a super-rich experience no matter how obscure the thing you're searching for is. Hopefully, that explains the "why the hell?" question."

So we get Chicks with Swords and Kato Kaelin. Obscure, sure, but how effective? Are people now searching at and abandoning Google? And go ahead and do an image search for "Chicks with Swords" over at and see if you find the "experience" to be "super-rich."

"Why the hell" works when you're selling burgers, and I personally enjoy the Western Whopper moustache ads that CP+B has been putting out. I am also one of the few who really liked Peter Stormare as the evil German doctor unpimping rides for VW. But you can't do "why the hell" for everything. And when you're the distant 5th place search engine, just ahead of the "other" category, you simply can't do "why the hell" and expect people to jump brands, especially when one of those brands has such a huge share of searchers and rolls out free, useful products every week.

A few months ago, tried some stuff in the UK that backfired, pretending to get all revolutionary, guerilla and underground, complete with red berets. The backlash happened because, in the words of one disappointed dupe, "I thought this may be an informative Web site about how information is used on the Internet. Instead I discover it's just a cheap ploy for an inferior search engine."

But I think that UK campaign went for the right angle: Google rules the world and people should revolt. CP+B needs to scare the public. Make them think Google is installing cameras in their bedrooms and watching their credit cards. Make them think Google is holding on to records of every search ever performed and waiting for the right time to use the information against them. Portray Google as jackbooted thugs disguised as flower children. Hell, turn them into evil alien personal information Nazis out to rule the universe.

You can't do that hip wink and a nudge stuff for every product and service you work for, CP+B. Your client is in 5th place and you're giving us Kato Kaelin? Come on, I know you people are smarter than this.

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  • Also: when did CPB become the frankenstein's laboratory for dying and full-out dead) celebrities? I like a little kitch with my fries just like anyone else, but some of these commercials are basically "The Surreal World" with somewhat better music.

    Bring back the smartness of things like Method, Mini and Molson?

    By Blogger James-H, at June 27, 2007 at 4:08 PM  

  • But what if every engine has conceded the No. 1 to Google, and that they’re just playing for No. 2 now. John can speak to it better than I could, after all, he wrote the spots, but it seems like there's an element of “no matter what ‘it’ is, you can find it on ebay’ factor with the reference to obscure, because people search for most anything, (you just can’t depict that in a PG way).

    So maybe not trying literally Chicks with swords, rather, it's an approximate meld of the stuff their users typically search for. In discussing it with him, it's clear there's an awareness there of some of the odd stuff people search for.

    Getting back to Google for a sec, it's amazing to me that this brand was built entirely without advertising, rather, through trial. The old-school peeps might call this an in-store demo with the cheese lady or the Oxi-Clean guy.

    Not saying this is their approach, but even though Google’s the king, when presented with a choice, people usually try another when presented with one. Most may come back to Google, but some may stray.

    I have to admit I’ve been using ask more and more and comparing the results from each on common search phrases.

    By Blogger Make the logo bigger, at June 27, 2007 at 5:28 PM  

  • You make a good case, Bill. I guess I'm just saying "Why concede?" Go for the knees. Take a bat to the legs of Google and actually attempt to make a dent in their share. Hit 'em where they're weak - which is in their utter dominance, scary growth and apparent refusal to abide by privacy laws.

    By Blogger Jetpacks, at June 28, 2007 at 11:16 AM  

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