Bad is the new cool
’Shift It’ is shifting it on multiple levels
It used to be so easy to tell a bad commercial from a good one. If it was witty, surprising, touching or filmed in a professional manner (preferably more than one of the above), it had a chance of delivering its message and keeping it sunk in just long enough that you'll remember when you are interviewed by one of those media research people who flag you down on the street for a quickie.
Well, the rules of the game appear to be changing but traditional agencies may not wish to keep up with the new trend, as demonstrated by this little number commissioned by Arlen Transmissions in Burbank, California.
Because, while it sucks in every quadrant of the known universe, this is a brilliantly engineered advertisement.
Is it annoying? Absolutely. Painfully humiliating for the client? You bet. Are you watching it for the third time, kicking the desk and rolling on the floor whining with laughter? We are.
This is the Gangnam Style of the advertising world.
It's so unbelievably silly, self-ironic and dilettante (whether by chance or purpose) that it develops instant chemical dependance. You need this shit.
Alright. So what's the name of the shop? No idea, right?
This used to mean it was a bad commercial.
And yet, while as a former copywriter I am wary to admit, this may be the future of advertising. Because in the age of mobile internet and search engines smarter than the average population you no longer need to remember anything specific.
Picture this. You are driving your car, domestic or foreign, in the Burbank area and you have a transmission problem. You got your iPhone. You could do a Google local search for repair shops, ending up with dozens of unknown garages, each a gamble in its own right. Or you could punch in 'Goorgen', 'Shift It', 'silly Iranian car mechanic singer' or whatever you can remember from this piece of toxic waste, watch the video again, get the number from the opening shots and head straight to Arlen's Transmission Shop where you can meet the Singing Mechanic himself.
(With just a few seconds of Google time it tuns out the man is actually an accompished musical performer. He does shows and has released albums. Here's a video [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G74NAntThoQ] of his that inspired the commercial. Okay this is getting unbearable, I am off to watch it one more time)
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