Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Popping the top of the Sprite Spec Commercial

Despite what you read here, I don't shock or offend easily. I've watched or listened to nearly every form of entertainment you can think of. Some of them you'd be hard pressed to defend as entertainments. And I can mount a defense of the depravity and dehumanizing acts depicted in Pasolini's Salo as a statement on our callow and base natures using American Idol as an example.

So when I rail against a non-commercial that has not been banned in Germany, a spec commercial created for Sprite and viewable here in this Young Turks YouTube clip, it's more out of sheer disappointment. Disappointment that so many creative types reduce sex in marketing to something leering, immature and creatively bankrupt.

BK has done it. Hardee's has done it. And I I summarily dismissed both for their sophomoric efforts some time ago. No doubt, other companies are looking to do it, too. In this case, the spec commercial, if you haven't checked the link above, shows a woman who appears to be performing fellatio getting sprayed in the face with the contents of a bottle of Sprite.

Sex can be funny. Sex can be rendered with sophistication. European ad campaigns have proved this time and time again. This spec commercial for Sprite, and the BK and Hardee's campaigns, is neither funny nor sophisticated. It's not even really a commercial at the end of the day. So why am I talking about it?

1) The spec commercial is likely to be circulated virally, thus becoming a de facto commercial, whether Sprite likes it or not. I gather the company does not. It creates a rather unfortunate and embarrassing public relations situation for Sprite that it probably hadn't anticipated (if the company played no part in encouraging the creation of this item).

2) Somewhere, someone is creating content using your brand or product, and they are sharing it with friends, posting for all to see on the web. So you need to be aware of what it going on with your brand and engaging and guiding consumers where possible in the creation of that content so it is in keeping with the brand and messages you want to communicate.

Obviously, you can't control all content or commentary on your brand, but you do have to be more vigilant than ever to protect ya neck. Your willingness to be transparent and engaging also goes a long way to maintaining your reputation when content like this pops up, pardon the pun.

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