Friday, November 23, 2007

I Know! We'll Use Cavemen!

Bentonville, Arkansas, home of Wal-Mart, is apparently also the home of Fuse Fitness Center. While the Geico Cavemen remain somewhat popular, (created by the Martin Agency, who also landed the Wal-Mart account just before they stole my Frampton idea) the folks at Fuse figured they'd jump on the bandwagon.

But these are not your urbane, sardonic cavemen as created for Geico and then ruined by ABC. These are more or less just your average mulleted Ozark Neanderthals in sleeveless flannel shirts.

In many Arkansas towns, the boys just sew the sleeves back on come winter.

I sympathize with the creators of this ad. I used to have to deal with this crap when I was a TV writer/producer not very far from Bentonville. They wanted to do something "fresh" and "new" and "different" from all the other gym ads, but they had no budget, substandard production equipment, a guy from the gym who wanted to be on camera as spokesman, bad acting, extras (unpaid) overacting and a voiceover talent who brings the lifeless script just the perfect lifeless tone and inflection. And they had to shoot late at night when the gym was closed, (apparently without a light kit) so you can't even see the cavemen in the closing shot.

The total cost for producing this ad, including mullet wigs, was probably around $330.

But as far as getting the word out in Bentonville about Fuse, it's probably doing the trick. And they do address a good point - one reason people avoid gyms is to avoid the fathead muscle grunters you typically find in gyms.

And the spokesdude has been getting noticed at Wal-Mart, with people coming up to him saying, "Hey! Aren't you that guy from the gym?" He fakes a sheepish look as he hands them his card and says, "My boss is gonna kill me for offering this, but if you join today, I'll knock 10% off your membership fee."

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