Monday, April 24, 2017

No Country For Old Men


The question always comes up when I meet strangers at a party. Or run into relatives on my wife's side of the family, whose names I have long forgotten.

"Oh you work in advertising? Do you have any favorite commercials on TV right now?"

And of course the answer is always, "no."

Not only do I not have any favorites, my mind goes completely blank and I can't even remember the crappy advertising I know is out there.

That changed last week.

If you haven't seen the new campaign for Fram Oil Filters, do yourself a favor and make with the Google. There, you will find a set of spots by Laughlin Constable, featuring Jonathon Banks as their new cranky spokesperson.

The timing of these spots couldn't be better. Because as the astute among you will notice, Mr. Banks is also one of the stars of Better Call Saul, one of the best shows on television. In fact, the creatives at the ad agency should be congratulated for successfully appropriating Mr. Banks entire character.

It's genius. And frankly, I'm surprised Vince Gilligan, the show's creator hasn't sued the good folks at Fram and their agency.

What I love so much about the cranky spokesperson -- the cranksperson -- is no doubt what account people and planners hate about him. And I can well imagine how that first creative review went when the creative people sprung the idea on the 27 year old business and marketing experts.

"He's so negative."

"Does he have to insult our target market audience?"

"He never smiles. He seems downright angry. And he's old. This'll never work. Plus how do you put that bald ugly dude on Instagram?"

Am I fabricating these comments?
No. I. Am. Not.

I have been in a hundred, nee, a thousand of these internal idea death panels myself. In fact, if I may, I'd like to indulge in another one of those We-Had-A-Campaign-Just-Like-That Moments.

A long time ago when John Shirley (my art director) and I were still walking around with one last and diminishing ray of sunshine on our careers we were asked to head up a pitch for Hardees. We had done a little digging and found that Hardee's used to have a company spokesperson for the advertising, Lil' Chef. Our idea was to drag Lil' Chef out of retirement and put him back to work in order to save the company.

In our iteration, Lil' Chef wanted no part of it. He was an old man. An old, cranky wealthy man, not unlike the Big Lebowski. Oh and in a thinly-veiled homage to the agency management at the time, we made Lil' Chef, a raging alcoholic.

He was always drunk and always angry. He was drangry.

Of course, Lil' Chef never saw the light of day. Thus amplifying my current campaign envy. Shortly thereafter, we were shown the light at the end of the tunnel leading out of Chiat/Day.

But I digress. In any case here is your Moment of Fram.





2 comments:

Dave Trott said...

I hadn't seen that campaign (obviously) but it's now my new favourite strapline - "It's the orange one, numbnuts"

Jessan Dunn Otis said...

"...but, I can help *you*. ...It's the orange one, numb nuts." ...and, there you have it. Done and done. #Frampa ! Wisdom from the ages to the "young ones". Genious. :)