Thursday, January 24, 2013

Marc USA swings and misses with Rite Aid

Marc USA has produced a couple of TV 30's for Rite Aid's flu shot season. Both spots make Mom the culprit who has the flu and the one to run away from. One guy who is so sweaty himself, he looks feverish to me, is using his nail gun to lock his wife up. The other is a family hiding in the basement against a kinda Stephen King-esque creepy flu mom. Good production values, lighthearted music, a couple of supers to actually tell you what these spots are really about: Don't hide from the flu. Get your flu shot at Rite Aid. No appointment necessary.

Now for some reason these spots just feel flat and uninspired to me. Did they make me smile? no. Did they make me laugh? no. Did they scare me or instill fear in me? no. And most importantly:
Did they make me run out and get a flu shot? no.

I think advertising today lacks a really important element: it has to make me care. It has to touch me somehow in a place that takes time to find. When I say it takes time to find that place, that sweet spot place, I mean creatively.

All the right people at Marc and Rite Aid obviously approved those two commercials, probably had many levels of approvals.  I would bet the farm that the creative team or teams that originally brainstormed for this project, didn't have nearly the time they needed to do justice to the message. Those teams or that team may never have found the sweet spot that I am talking about even if they did have the time. Maybe that sweet spot was a line of copy on a coffee stained legal size page somewhere or a thumbnail sketched as an afterthought or was thrown into the round file after the first stage of ideas presented internally. Or maybe the team just didn't have the inspiration, briefing, strategy or support needed to get to that insightful sweet spot place. Hard to know. But one thing I know it certainly isn't in these expensive 56 seconds.

Did the creative team do their job then? Sure. These commercials are clean, single minded, simple, and with the help of the supers, informative oh, and not offensive. So on a scale of 1 it's a total bomb, 10 it's a gold lion, I give this a score of 3.5 and call it: a "making the client  happy" rating.

And this is what most agencies really strive for. Making sure the client is happy. It isn't about great ads. It isn't about reaching out to the consumer. It isn't about finding that sweet spot. It isn't even about being compelling as a communication.

So for Marc USA and Rite Aid, my 3.5 is probably their 10.