You can use humour in ads to tell a complex product story, but the story should not get lost in the midst of all the laughs
Makers of the expensive hatchback, Fiat Punto, have released a new TV commercial. And they have cheekily attempted to marry humour with product features, and that's always a tricky proposition. The script has to be extremely carefully written for the ad to succeed.
The TVC is set inside the basement parking lot of an official/residential building or probably a mall. Some thieves are seen trying to break into the Fiat Punto. Meanwhile the car owner arrives at the scene, and nabs one of the chors. But instead of beating him up (quite natural in the circumstances), he takes the thief out for a drive. The owner then painfully explains all the car features to the scared chap. The Italian design, the multi-jet engine, the horsepower, etc. And finally the so-called 'Blu & Me' technology which allows him to make a call through the car's speakers. And yes, it's the police control room he's dialling.
While in theory this is a neat trick… the idea of demonstrating the assorted car features using humour… the route is laced with massive road bumps. What this sort of execution does, is to run the risk of the fun part of the commercial (which is the thief) overpowering the product story itself (the complicated features). As viewers, who essentially sit down to watch television, our main aim is news or entertainment. And not advertising. And even within advertising, our focus tends to gravitate towards visuals and words that cue entertainment. Ergo, in the Fiat Punto ad, our mind remains focussed on the chor and his shenanigans, and on the owner's own game plan, but very little on the car itself. So the story totally vampires the brand.
The lesson from this commercial therefore is this: When one uses humour in ads to tell a complex product story, one has to work a hundred times on the script so that the product story doesn't get lost in the midst of all the laughs. Am afraid the Fiat Punto guys didn't account for this challenge.
Lastly, and purely as an aside, I would never steal a Fiat Punto. Not that the machine is ordinary, but despite its long list of claims, there's very little legroom space for the passengers in the rear seat. The only sort of chap who can feel comfy in this car is the short thief they feature in the ad. Maybe that's why the bugger wanted the car in the first place!
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