Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How not to use a celebrity in a commercial

Let me start this post by saying I like Tim Gunn. I like him on Project Runway. He's a good mentor to the designers, a tough critic of their work with a lot of experience who provides enough support through the creative process to help them through their task.

But this commercial for Expedia makes him look like a buffoon and I blame the agency.

First, it's a lazy concept.
"Hey, with expedia people get to 'design' their own vacations, let's have Tim Gunn coach people on how to do that!" Ugh.

Second, the writing is insipid. 
"Let's take every catchphrase the man uses in on Project Runway and cram them randomly into the spot connecting our copy points." This felt like it was written between sips of coffee a few hours before the client meeting.

Third the direction is terrible.
They couldn't possibly have made him look any worse or any more stiff. Clearly they didn't do any research before the spot to see how direct-able he'd be. Just because someone is on TV doesn't mean they can act. Appearing on an unscripted reality show is different from hitting a mark an reading lines off a teleprompter. Not everyone can do it, that's why we pay actors.

Featuring celebrities in your spot is not always a bad idea. I've worked with Dabney Coleman, Bjorn Borg, Ernie Harwell, John Candy and others over the years. They can bring interest, credibility and humanity to your message when used correctly. But too often they're reduced to two-dimensional caricatures which leads to ridiculous spots like this. 

No comments:

Post a Comment