Monday, June 9, 2008

Bad Ad Rodeo: Sumo Wrestlers vs. Stuffed Heads

Love It

I really can't get enough of this ad for the new Subaru 2009 Forrester featuring sumo wrestlers.

Ok let's analyze:

  1. Great soundtrack, catchy modern song (Electric Six 'Danger! High Voltage!') with a killer beat and good intro to begin the spot. Notice the perfect timing of sponge hits to the hooks of the song.
  2. Great tagline, couldn't be any clearer. "Japanese SUVs just got a little sexier." There is no way that this message could be confused based on the plot of the commercial. It's such a play on classic "buxom blonde washing a car in the sun" parable so iconic in North American culture. Perfect twist because sumo wrestlers are highly identifiable with Japan and the first thing one remembers about this commercial is that it is a Subaru car. The voiceover makes no small point of acknowledging that it's a Japanese car. 'Japanese' is the first word spoken during the entire spot. Perhaps the marketing department learned through research that they had a problem differentiating the Subaru brand from other Japanese automobile manufacturers and this was a way to carve out a 'sexier', hipper appeal with car buyers.
  3. It's funny! The slow pace of the camera shots over the sump wrestler's fat semi-nude bodies is almost voyeuristic. The blatant depiction of jiggling fat and long drenched hair makes viewers feel simultaneously repulsed and attracted because they want to understand the point of the commercial.
  4. The product is featured first but the tagline comes at the end. A great way to create buildup and anticipation in viewers and to give the product as much face time as possible.

Hate it

Commercials for suburban feedtroughs like Milestones, Kelsey’s, or Jack Astor’s don’t usually irk me too much. However, this ad from Montana’s with the talking animal heads on the wall actually forces me to change the channel.

Ok let’s analyze:

  1. There’s nothing wrong with the message here. It clearly explains that Montana’s is a place that brings families together and drawing with crayons on the tables is obviously a big highlight about the dining experience. Fine.
  2. The friendly staff and appealing meals are also featured. Fine.
  3. The talking moose head introduces viewers to Montana’s at the beginning of the spot. Fine, that’s good to establish the primacy effect in people’s minds since we don’t see the food until later in the commercial.
  4. Really, it’s the disembodied heads of the Moose and the Elk (Reindeer? Caribou?) that make this commercial unwatchable. The CDs must have rationalized that Canada’s love affair with unfunny odd couple animal mascots (Frank and Gordon ring any bells?) would easily translate into shilling for family feedbag restaurants…ok fine, but why do their heads have to be cut off? Is the audience to believe that the Montana’s Cookhouse is really an Aboriginal longhouse where shamanistic powers have reanimated the spirits of cloven-hoofed dead? It’s just a creepy premise for an otherwise benign commercial.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Whenever I see this subaru ad on tv, I tell everyone in the room to shut up and I turn up the volume - I love this one!!!!