I love commercials almost as much as I do not love football. The idea of a brand buying a kajillion dollar :60 second spot and making us laugh, or cry, or gasp in shock, is so cool to me. If anything, it reminds me that while technology still cranks out flashy-but-doomed novelties and things are filmed and printed in 3D (why?) writers still need to tell stories, and people still need to hear them. We tend to hang onto those stories that ring true for us; the messages that illuminate something old in a fresh new way. It is an elevated but classic form of communication, and it is so, so, so important and will never not be.
Have you guys seen the new awesome (surprise, Weiden & Kennedy, Portland) Weight Watchers spots? I think I actually bolted upright from my horizontal couch position mid-Hulu binge when I saw this campaign.
Take a tired brand like Weight Watchers, who banked on C-list celebrities to be spokespeople. The before-and-after imagery execution was not strong, maybe because it lacked that truthful communication, or maybe because it wasn’t that different from what other brands were doing, like Jenny Craig. But watch this ad, and you can see how the truth-ness comes when Weight Watchers successfully and humorously examines the complex relationships we have with our food and our self-image.
All of a sudden I’m listening, and when I see an ordinary woman shoveling cheese puffs into her mouth, fully clothed and in a bathtub, or a pretty girl with bangs sobbing into an ice cream cone in the rain, I can instantly relate. I can relate a lot more to these people than I can to a trim Jennifer Hudson whose smile struggles to assure me that if she can do it, I can do it, too! But no. Stop. You’re not talking to me. You’re famous, kind of, and that only fuels my compulsive urge to eat my feelings.
And that’s where so many brands can miss the mark.
You don’t need an expensive broadcast spot to tell a story. Check out “World of Food” below, which could have worked just as well as a print ad. The insight in this one was probably an iteration of: “When you’re trying to lose weight, you’re always hungry,” or “food seems to be everywhere.”
Who can relate to this? Probably everyone who has struggled with dieting, i.e. Weight Watchers’ target audience. I am guessing the objective was to promote the feature of a Personal Coach when you subscribe to the program. The strategy was to highlight normal people experiencing the cravings throughout their day, and the execution was to show the encounters or interactions people have with objects as food. Like a chocolate office phone, a restaurant booth made out of pizza, or a couch made of tortilla chips.
Needless to say, I am the most excited to see their Super Bowl debut… and to rack up HECKA Weight Watchers points with some hot wings and seven-layer-dip! That’s how it works right, more points = touchdowns = scores = win?
…What time does the Puppy Bowl come on?