So, after great fanfare and much discussion the advertisement launches.
If you would like to see this ad in a larger screen format go to the Whopper Virgins site. I can't imagine that young men would have the attention span to watch this, and I can't imagine that culturally aware people would be swayed by this ad to buy a Whopper. Maybe the audience is people that have no real cultural awareness but wish they did? I still can't figure this one out.
They are taking the “taste test” concept to a new level by taking a Big Mac and Whopper to a rural farming village in Romania, a remote village in Thailand and to an outpost in Greenland and letting locals taste the fare.
They have upped the ante by hiring well-known director Stacy Peralta to film the ensuing reaction in documentary style. Here is a little preview that I found on the Denver Egoist blog, CPB is headquartered in Boulder, Colo.
Already, some people are up in arms over this campaign, calling it offensive and exploitive. I was tipped off to the campaign by a negative comment posted by a reporter from the Chicago Sun-Times on Twitter.
I have to say that the ad concept doesn't appeal to me, but I am am clearly not in the demographic. I am not entirely sure I know exactly who is, but teenage boys come to mind. This campaign is dressed up like a documentary, but it really seems to be more an echo of the offensive but wildly popular Borat in reverse, where exploiting cultural differences was the crux of the humor.
As a public relations professional I see all kinds of land mines hiding in this campaign, but unlike the huge Motrin ad outcry, this ad is less likely to cause an all-out online outcry. In fact, the coverage to this point has been tilted toward, “can't you people take a joke?”
I don't know, I guess it depends on the joke.
When researching this story, I ran across a Fast Company article where Alex Bogusky, CEO of Crispin outlines the agency's philosophy.
Instead of hiding qualities that may seem negative…Crispin exploits them….Naturally, that risks pissing someone off. “I think really good brands have to have something of a thick skin these days,” Bogusky says….”Then, once Crispin finds a through line that works, adds Bogusky's disciple Keller, “we pour gas on it.”
As you can see, a few pissed off people is seen as a sign of success. It seems that the strategy is to be the bad boys of advertising.
Not sure where that puts relational marketing, except to say that a good many people are looking to be entertained by commercials, not “related” too. And certainly mothers (I am one) are less than interested in explaining what a “virgin” is to their 4 year-olds.