The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Marcus Brown Inspired This Ad [Sort Of] So Blame Him …
May 7, 2008, 7:17 am
Filed under: Comment

A while back we got a brief from SONY for their Handycam range of products …

Without going into all the details [it was not the best experience we’ve ever had with a client] we were given so many mandatories that the client basically wrote the ad – however there was one thing that saved us/them from going into over-sentimentality-hell, and that was this picture that I saw over on Marcus’ blog about a year ago.

Genius isn’t it?

Well it is if they’re not your kids in your house, ha!

Can you imagine what you’d of thought/felt/said if you had walked into this scenario?

I tell you, even the SuperNanny would have probably advocated death.

A similar sort-of thing happened to George a few years back …

At huge expense, George bought this fancy pants PDA so he could keep in touch with us and all that was going on.

Anyway, a couple of days later – as he was about to leave for work – he realised the thing had gone missing.

Frantically looking around the house, he found it at the bottom of his youngest daughters fish tank.

Naturally “Auntie George” went absolutely ballistic demanding an explanation, to which she looked up at him with her big beautiful angelic blue eye’s and explained that having watched Finding Nemo a few days earlier, she was worried the fishies in her tank might be wanting to tell their Mummy’s and Daddy’s where they are so she decided to give them a phone to call them on.”

Now that ladies and gentleman is a strategy worth winning an effectiveness award for!

Anyway, while adults find these sorts of incidents funny [more because of the kids facial expression of joy/mischief/concentration rather than the actual act] to the parent involved it’s all they can do to stop themselves ripping their children’s head off so we used that as the sort-of idea behind the ad – though what we really wanted to say was that Handycam let you record moments of ‘evil’ in such detail, that when you watch it back years later you feel the same level of anger as before except this time you can get your own back because they’ll be old enough to be beaten to within an inch of their vandalistic little lives.

Now that would of been a MUCH better commercial!

In all honesty, as much as this ad is cute, it still disappoints me because I know what we wanted to do for them – and most of the ideas didn’t even involve an ad!

Saying that, we had such a fantastic insight that I know we could of made such a great bunch of ads [and I’m not just talking television, obviously] that it would have kick-started the whole category again – but alas ‘things’ don’t always work out as you want them which is why I think we will continue to witness the slow but continual decline of the video camera till it finally reaches it’s place in ‘technology history’.

As I’ve said previously, the problem with these big pieces of business is that regardless how good the brand and the majority of the clients are – their focus is to produce material their sales companies can use to impress the retailer – the customer doesn’t really feature too much in the process.

What this means is that ideas that could drive sales get pushed back infavour of ideas the sales teams think can get Harvey Norman or Electric Warehouse to buy more of their products.

In all seriousness, if we had offered a 50 Year Warranty, it would have been more effective than all the television commercials in the World.

I’m not slagging off the ad, I’m just saying it would have driven greater results because whilst the majority of people buy a video camera when they are becoming a parent and/or going on a ‘holiday of a lifetime’, the general consensus is that most cameras are the same and a longterm warranty would demonstrate this was a camera [1] they could trust and [2] that would not go out of date.

Of course there’s loads more they could have done, from writing to all previous Handycam owners and telling them about the new HD format to offering deals to anyone buying a High-Def television because once they’d got used to 1080i detail, they’d never want to see old style visuals on the screen again etc etc – but yet again we have a situation where the agency is thinking interms of sales and marketing whereas the client – because of their infrastructure – is just focusing on ads’

I love SONY – products, brand and client – but sometimes I find the lost opportunities VERY frustrating.

PS: The song apparently has a word in it that in Malay translates into something VERY rude – hence the ad’s not being shown there and we all have been reminded how tough this ‘multi-country advertising’ thing can be! Saying that, this word does seem incredibly appropriate given it occurs every time a kid on the screen is being mischievious, ha!

PPS: If anyone out there has a HD video camera client – preferably not in Asia πŸ™‚ – I have 2 absolute corker ideas for you – one of which I GUARANTEE will sell shitloads of product, so let me know. ha!

35 Comments so far
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That ad is very cute and in light of recent events (which you know about Rob, beep beep!) i can fully understand what you mean about ideas being washed down.

Great work nonetheless. I really like the bit where he spills the milk and knows he’s screwed up and lifts the glass up.

Comment by Age

What I love about you and this blog is the raw honesty. The ad is OK, sweet even, but your comments indicate there were options that you know would have led to something much better including a load of ideas that had nothing to do with ads but would have sold potentially more product.

To openly say that is very refreshing to hear but it’s what we expect from you and which is why you are so good at your job.

I must admit that I don’t know how you get away with it sometimes but I think it’s because people know you want to make things work for everyone not just the client or the agency or the people.

It’s testimony to the work you and the guys have done on Sony that I think this ad is quite nice but not upto your usual standard. You give a hint to some of the reasons for that but I just want to tell you that if I’d ended up with this when I worked on the account in Asia, it would have signified a massive victory for creativity so don’t give up the fight but don’t underestimate how far you’re moving them forward.

Long way to go but miles ahead of where they were or where the average Asian commercial is.

I say all this but what is going to happen to Sony now you’re heading off to new adventures?

Comment by Pete

microsoft must be making your brain fucking curdle pete because theres no other reason for your sychophantic love to campbell on this post. well unless you want a new job or want to get in his pants.

i know this ad is the best they could get away with but not the best they came up with but when you deal with massive companies, the standard of markerter varies so fucking much that for every robot commercial you get one of these.

its not that its bad but its just an ad that youll like when you see it but forget when you dont. its all very easy to blame clients because at the end of the day its also down to how you sell the fucking idea in, but in this case i know rob and gang are more innocent than guilty but it still would have been very different if id been there πŸ™‚

as much as i hate giving campbell a nod, but the non ad ideas he mentions would sell more cameras than this but the campaign he told me they wanted to do would have sold fucking shit loads so well have to see what happens now hes going to ruin my life rather than theirs

Comment by andy@cynic

hahah ! You got me curious as to the rude word – and you are not joking ! Mum’s private parts are not good to be singing about in a tune, unless it’s in a pub in Manchester !!

Comment by fan

admit it campbell, you personally chose that song didnt you. you naughty very proud of you πŸ™‚

Comment by andy@cynic

Maybe it is because I am a Father, but I liked this ad even before I found out the soundtrack contained a descriptive swear word that tied in with events on the screen. Now I love it.

Comment by Lee Hill

You really should sell this idea / strategy to some other client. Serious

Comment by Bhaskar

What’s funny is that I didn’t realise they was a Malay swear word in the song till you mentioned it. What’s funnier is that I was probably distracted by the man singing “something something something my bootie”.


Comment by Nabilah

We are breaking new barriers in advertising …
swearing and men singing about their arses, even Crispin’s can’t achieve that. Yet. πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

it’s not my fault untill you send me a cheque.

Comment by Marcus

i always get to the site a bit late – by which time the initial discussion around an insight, observation or piece of work has degenerated (every time) into a pub conversation about arses and who is shortest! (I’m very tall and have a lovely arse by the way)
but that in mind – I’ll say this anyway – you can’t always blame the client for their shortcomings – problem is – they stare at their key messages list, brand equities grid and the brand pyramid/onion/star/tree so long, that they believe it is truth. if you tell me I’m a chicken long enough – I will eventually attempt to produce an egg. so when we offer a radical view (or even the real best solution based on what their product really does and who are really buying it – I mean, can everything really be targeted at aspirational, individuals and young parents, and be positioned as premium, contemporary blah, blah, blah.) it seems so out of kilter with their beliefs that its not getting past them. Truth is, if they could do it themselves, or see it even remotely objectively, we wouldn’t have jobs. plus we can always dust off the thinking and sell it to someone else later.
sorry about that – back to arses – The pogues original name was Pogue Mahone, which means kiss my arse in gaelic (apparently) it took the Top of the Pops a few angry letters to find that one out.
oh – and on yesterdays blog – Neil Diamond once said that songs are life in 80 words or less. nice…

Comment by Mr McG

“Tell me I’m a chicken long enough and I will eventually attempt to produce an egg”

OK Mr McG, you’re a rich benefactor and you’re going to give small men called Barry the entire contents of your bank account.

OK Mr McG, you’re a rich benefactor and you’re going to give small men called Barry the entire contents of your bank account.

OK Mr McG, you’re a rich benefactor and you’re going to give small men called Barry the entire contents of your bank account.

OK Mr McG, you’re a rich benefactor and you’re going to give small men called Barry the entire contents of your bank account.

OK Mr McG, you’re a rich benefactor and you’re going to give small men called Barry the entire contents of your bank account.

Comment by Bazza

please forward me your bank details.

Comment by Mr McG

Don’t tell me, you work in a Nigerian bank and have found I’m related to the dethrowned King of an obscure but rich tribe

Comment by Bazza

At least it’s based on a real truth rather than foam. Like the honesty too.

Comment by northern

I am making it my mission to create work based on Marcus Brown…..

Comment by northern

So why don’t you insist on talking to the key distributers as part of the process? If you believe in the idea, why rely on someone else to sell it? They might even be flattered that you were acknowledging their importance in the sales chain.

Comment by John

You don’t think we did that?

This is me you’re talking to Dodds – not some advertising prima-donna who thinks anyone associated with sales, retail or promotions are lepers.

The 2nd paragraph of this post sums up why we didn’t get to make this campaign as we wanted to – and I mean that from the idea to the whole marketing opportunities perspective, but they are happy … the retailers are happy and people seem to like it and buy it … I just know we could have made it work much harder if we’d only been given the green light but as is life, there are moments where you either compromise or fight a bigger battle πŸ™‚

Comment by Robert

You’ve been talking to George haven’t you.

Comment by John

I was of course just musing and adding to the conversation in the best tradition of blog nonsense. Wouldn’t dare label you a primadonna, but we’re all looking forward to your prima ballerina performance.

Comment by John

I must admit Robert, when Poppy decided to test the waterproof capabilities of my phone, the last thing on my mind was to grab a camcorder and record her angelic face for prosperity but I know her sisters, Mother, Andy and you all would have loved to.
Maybe this ad would be more effective if it was targeted at those family members and friends who actually aspire to go to satans lair?

Comment by George

I know where you’re comming from George. I feel for you.

Comment by Marcus

i finally got to see the film and got distracted by the guy saying something something licka ma booty too. i can see where you were heading with the evil and it’s a bummer you didn’t get to go there. i think the face detector would have been better aimed at the lovely crush of agony, anger and love on dad’s faces. but, like you said, you can’t have everything.

Comment by lauren

aspire to satans lair? thats fighting talk from where i come from george.

and we all know this ad isnt what it should or could of been but i do like the fact campbell admits that and talks about ideas that could have been exciting, effective and memorable if the fucker only had been able to sell it but he couldnt which is why the really good idea “beware of handycam owners, theyll bore you to tears” didnt stand a fucking chance.

you failed us campbell, dont let it happen again

Comment by andy@cynic

I don’t get it.
But I am still working and it’s late and it seems that Japanese clients are silly with mandatories. Hello beloved Japanese camera manufacturer that keeps me awake during nights…

Comment by Seb

dont blame fucking japanese camera clients, blame the fucking german education department. im disappointed in you seb, even stevie wonder could see what this bollocks was saying. i know its pants but its not totally fucking stupid.

now step away from the desk, get your coat, stick 2 fingers at the boss and for fucks sake get some sleep before you say anything else alarming πŸ™‚

Comment by andy@cynic

I haven’t really read the whole post.
Just watched the TVC.
Kids do bullshit.
The new Sony with face detection.
(The German expression for What?)
What’s got face detection to do with it?

Comment by Seb

Sorry Seb, I’ve never met you and I know you’re a nice guy (certainly nicer than Andy πŸ™‚ ) but I’m with the big guy on this one. Maybe you should read the post. Or have kids. πŸ™‚

Comment by Pete

youre really fucked when a planner agrees with me seb. but hes at crispin so they dont know shit except how to do funnyish television πŸ™‚

Comment by andy@cynic

I read the post.
Though I have to say, being a nitpicking German, that my mum, watching the telly, doesn’t have charming Rob sitting next to her, explaining her the strategy.
And without knowing the strategy it’s a film showing kids doing stupid things (that parents or soon-to-be-parents and women of all kinds of age will find chi-chu-cho-chi-charming) and then paying off with “face detection blah-blah”.
I still find it very optimistic that people would get the stuff Rob said from that film. But hey, I am German, 70 years ago some people here actually believed that a guy from Austria could conquer the world for us.

Comment by Seb

I won’t bite Andy. Besides I know you’re only saying that to implicate your planning partners πŸ™‚

Comment by Pete

good point pete, no subtlety was there. im disappointed in myself. no really i am.

so with your germanic logic seb i take it you also hate cadbury’s gorilla and trucks, sony balls, lemon tango and vb symphony.

sorry, being a cheeky twat and youre right that the end super is shit and not shedding light on how it all ties together (given campbell bugs the crap out of me on this sort of shit i assume it was a creative lovey moment) but i still say most people get it especially the poor fucking parents that sony seem to believe are the only people who would want to record something in their life.

talking of parents im off to georges house for dinner and to remind myself why kids belong in a zoo rather than my house πŸ™‚

Comment by andy@cynic

Gorilla is about joy. Chocolate is joy.
Balls is about colour. Sonys are brilliant with colour.
VB symphony is with the product.
I like them all.
And I get the purpose of the film. It’s just that the pay off with face detection is irritating. But I guess it was not the creatives’ decision to put that in the end.
Have fun.

Comment by Seb

The pay off is the point of the ad.

Comment by John

For what it’s worth, I hate the end super … it doesn’t really encapsulate what we were trying to do but by the same token, I still think people get it – except Germans working late on camera briefs.

And what the hell is going on with Andy defending me???

Comment by Rob

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