Sunday, February 01, 2009

Now This is Adverrtising

Advertising used to be a black art. It required subtlety and innuendo, vague nudging and then gentle calls to action. Whispers and suggestions. Before you knew it, you're at a bar saying, "Come to think of it, I'll have a Heineken." But we're too jaded and cynical for most of those methods now. Sure, lingerie and exotic cars can still be sold that way, but now we want you to make us laugh while you're selling your stuff. Baby e-trade is a good example.

Below, the self-mocking, self-aware ad reaches its high point. Nothing hidden here. No attempt to be subtle. Just product, in your face, done by a couple of established sketch comedians using one of their well-known sketches as the vehicle. From SNL last night, Will Forte and Kristen Wigg in "MacGruber" selling Pepsi with the real MacGyver, Richard Dean Anderson.

The first one establishes the joke as a product placement.

The product placement gets more blatant.

Then, the over-the-top payoff.

Congratulations to Pepsi and their new agency, TBWA/Chiat/Day for pulling off this stunt. You think it's just another episode of MacGruber as they go into the commercial break, then you are sucked in by the ruse and you don't even care. It's comedy to sell Pepsi. And they even talked MacGyver out of retirement for the series. I can forgive that stupid logo change now.

But I'm a Coke man. As much as I admire this work, I'm not switching unless the restaurant I'm in only offers Pepsi. Honestly, my taste buds aren't so refined that I could actually tell much difference, but if I'm standing in front of two vending machines selling competing soft drinks, I'm probably going for the Coke. It's just a loyalty thing they conditioned me into believing years ago. If Pepsi wants to buy away my loyalty, we can talk.

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