August 9th, 2011
Let’s say this all together now, “People listen to voices they like. People DON’T listen to voices they don’t like.” Most of communication really is that simple.
THERE’S “FUN WEIRD” AND THEN THERE’S “WEIRD WEIRD”. I kinda think Rip the Drip — the poster boy for a water conservation campaign — unfortunately steps across the line into “I really don’t wanna see this guy again” territory, which is not good for communication — just ask the Digger the Dermatophyte people. Regardless, kudos to the folks behind the “Wasting Water is Weird” campaign for at least experimenting with something different.
DIGGER THE DUMPED DERMATOPHYTE. Once upon a time Lamosil came up with this repulsive mascot named Digger the Dermatophyte for their toe fungus lotion. I had a friend who so violently disliked Digger she quit watching shows that she knew might air the ads. Turns out she was representative of much of the American public. The campaign was dumped as they realized not only was it not selling product, it was chasing away potential customers. Not the right result for a television commercial.
ASKING PEOPLE TO “LIKE US BECAUSE WE’RE UNLIKEABLE” IS ASKING A BIT MUCH
A good friend sent me this “Wasting Water is Weird” PSA campaign yesterday (thanks, Lia!). Let me start by just shouting a very loud KUDOS to the people behind it for at least TRYING SOMETHING DIFFERENT! This is what is needed — NOT more polling and focus grouping and frickin’ metrics. THIS is how you beat “The Nerd Loop” — by experimenting and gaining real world experience.
Unfortunately I’m guessing the PSA is not going to work very well. It really should “play” in the first moment. You should glance at his photo or watch the first 3 seconds of the PSA and “get it” — and you should get it with a smile, meaning you’d like to hear more and see it again.
Instead, you kinda have to stare at the guy and try to figure out what exactly it is they’re trying to do here — “Oh, I get it, this is a weird guy and you’re using him to symbolize the Wasting Water is Weird campaign and …” Too much thinking going on there. And more importantly, it’s a HUGE gamble to use a potentially unlikeable image/person to front your campaign. Just read about Digger above.
Actually, check out this nice blog post a guy did presenting his Top Ten misfires (actually “Ten Twisted Mascots”) like this in ad campaigns. Happens all the time. BUT THAT’S A GOOD THING.
If you’re not trying unusual things (creating variation) and assessing openly their success, then you’re not working towards progress.