09 April 2007

Centrum Silver's Strip Poker Spot Not

Gill Walker of Evergreen Marketing in Australia sent a few of us agency and marketing folk an email. The subject line: We love strip poker. No comment in the message body, just a movie file attachment of a commercial.

When I watch commercials I try not to bring all my professional baggage along for the first visit. So … I mildly chuckled at this Centrum spot:

Kind of clever. A bit hokey. Actually, a Cocoon knock-off. But cute.

Of course, as a piece of persuasion - it fails. The spot is rife with ageism, and (even worse) portrays the target market as a bunch of delusional imbeciles.

I'm assuming that the target market is not Baby Boomers. These folks look to be in their seventies and eighties. As an exercise, let's refashion this ad for Boomers by making it appealing and persuasive:

Keep the first half of the spot, maybe shorten it a bit. We hear a door open. Pan. Barreling in are two twenty/thirty something adults (maybe with their young children). "Mom, Dad - we're dropping in because ..."

The pan back to the poker table reveals four people in their fifties/sixties, still looking pretty good - maybe with a few potbellies, a bald head, etc. They're healthy, animated, colorful. Both groups (at the door and at the table) are shocked, uncomfortable. The young adults at the door squirm, mumble something, look at each other. "Oh! Ummm …." And out the door they go, slinking away.

Back to the strip poker game. There is a wild mix of reactions (because, contrary to advertising/marketing conventional non-wisdom, people over fifty are not all the same). One is a bit sheepish, another finds the situation highly amusing, another is embarrassed, another sloughs it off and shrugs as if to say, 'Who cares, no big deal.' After a moment, they all smile, maybe giggle - and merrily continue with the game.

Watching the original commercial again - I didn't laugh at the old folks. I laughed at the agency that produced this sad, insipid spot.

Check out Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By for her take on the commercial.

Update 11 APR 2007: Interesting developments concerning the origin of this video. Read about it over at Time Goes By.