Times are tough all over, and even TV commercials reflect that. I'm seeing fewer ads for diamond baubles (annoying "he went to JARED" couples, you are not missed) and more that try to subtly present the message: Hey, we know your wallet is lighter these days, and our product can help.
I actually appreciate this idea. Too many commercials live in some wackadoo fantasy land, where everyone is beautiful and apparently independently wealthy, and the only tragedy is when Junior's toast lands jelly-side down on the white carpet. This isn't my world, and I doubt that it's yours.
Commercial-makers, however, have to walk a weird line. If they're too blunt and negative, we could create bad associations with their products. But at least now they're realizing that acting as if we all could run out and buy our spouse a Lexus with a giant bow on the hood was perhaps a bit unrealistic.
|Target's new series of ads smartly target the bad economy.
Even in better economic times, Target ran some pretty good ads, and the store is nicely positioned to roll out ads reminding us of their low prices. I like their "Brand New Day" ads, which include a catchy song by Tim Myers featuring Lindsey Ray. The ads show people using Target products and caption them to imply that you can replace expensive activities with them. "The new gym" shows a woman using a Target-purchased yoga ball, and "the new movie night" shows a couple watching Target-purchased DVDs. The ads also show the prices of each item to try and drive home their point. Cute and classy ads that are perfect for this tough time.
We've already talked about the Liberty Mutual insurance ads featuring the fictional Marlowe family (and directed by "Gummo" and "Kids" director Harmony Korine). I kind of thought these ads would grow on me, but they really haven't. I think it's because they're meant as a series, but commercials don't work that way. You may see one without ever having seen another, and so whatever flow the ads are attempting gets lost. And I can't decide if the dad's gravelly voice ("As of right now, we gotta kinda tighten the belt") is endearing or kinda grating. You can watch the series here.
McDonald's is another company that already had low prices, and now wants to remind us of that fact (sodium content? don't know ya!). This dollar-menu ad, in which a husband tries to squeeze every drop of toothpaste out of a tube, and uses a jackhammer to break up the sidewalk just to get his money's worth from the rental, isn't hilarious, but it makes its point. And I find it so much more tolerable than the smarmy voiceovers in McDonald's McCafe ads ("Commu-TAY!" "Cubi-CLAY!") Serious-LAY, these ads are horri-BLAY. (Note: Apaprently the McCafe voice does NOT belong to Jaime Andrews.)
I didn't even mention those GM ads that attempt to put a positive twist on their bankruptcy. Feel free to discuss those and any other commercials, economy-focused or not, in the comments.