Check out this video first. It’s from Germany, and a pretty memorable little viral video for Halloween season.
What did you think?
Now have a look at this one, this time from the UK.
What did you think?
It’s the same product, the same basic creative idea, and a very different execution. It’s not often that you get an apples-to-apples comparison like this, so it piqued my curiosity right away.
Personally, I like the UK version best, without a doubt. And while I think the German version has a lot going for it, it’s just not as good of an advertisement. Let’s look a little deeper, using the criteria I’ve written about in a previous post for judging creative. (you do remember this handy guide below, right?)
- Good? Yes, it caught my eye and clearly stood out for me, it “broke through the clutter”.
- Sticky? Yes, the visual gag of the vacuum cleaner sucking the toupee, moving it across the ceiling, and then dropping it on the other, sullen looking bar mate…well it worked for me. It was funny and unexpected.
- Branded? Yes, the link between the creative hook and the brand/product was obvious and very linear. This is one powerful vacuum cleaner. (obviously shown via an exaggeration, but that’s creative license).
- Persuasive? If I were in the market for a vacuum cleaner, I’d probably want more “real” proof-of-benefit than the hyperbole shown here. But I take their overall point that this vacuums well, and the machine itself looks nice. So I’d give them a half-mark on this one.
- Stretchy? Not so sure. Once the gag is revealed the impact is greatly reduced. And the ability to take this outside of TV might be limited (although I’m sure I could be proven wrong on this one).
- Wow!? Not really. Beyond the fact that I appreciate the humor, there’s not much else that stirs the soul, that touches me emotionally.
So, all in all…not bad, not bad at all!
Now let’s take a look at the German version
- Good? Same as above
- Sticky? Same as above.
- Branded? Yes…but far less so than the UK version, and this is the critical failing. Why? Because the ad is, in my opinion, edited in a way that puts the all the emphasis on the fantastic atmospherics, the engrossing setup, the cinematics of it all…leaving precious little oxygen for the payoff where the brand linkage happens. Once it was over, what remained was the fright at reliving “The Exorcist”…not the product benefit! If this was a 30 second ad it would likely be vastly improved in this regard. As it stands…it looks like this was a mini-film waiting for a brand/product to attach itself to it (which it did quite cleverly…but this is not enough!)
- Persuasive? Once you lost me on the linkage to the brand or product, it’s hard to persuade me to want to buy it.
- Stretchy? No. This (even more so than the UK version) is a one shot deal.
- Wow!? Not really. Gave me that angst that scary movies do…but if I can’t/won’t link this back to what the product offers me…then what’s the point?
Pretty cool to have these side-by-side, right?
What is the lesson here? A careful comparison helps bring to light how an executional choice (length, editing, atmospherics) left no oxygen for the brand to thrive, turning the German version into a cool viral film for Halloween…but no more than that. And that’s a shame, because the very thing that makes this an admirable mini-film is what makes it a mediocre advertisement.
Dear reader, let me know what you think by posting in the messages section. Especially if you think I’m crazy and you’re convinced the opposite is true!
As always, thanks for reading!
A special thanks to my friend M Quinn for giving me the inspiration for this post.