Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Beat

I’ve just seen some little primary school kids play in a rock band. The full thing – singers, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, bass, drums. Great fun. They all played very well. Well there was one small exception. The drummer. He held the beat OK for a while then tried a few tricky moves. This lost his place a bit and he would suddenly be out of time. There is nothing more noticeable than a drummer in a rock band who is out of time. There’s nowhere to hide. A drummer’s job is to keep the beat. If he or she doesn’t the whole performance falls apart.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously, the line, “It has to be right before it can be clever.” My little drummer mate lost track of being right (keeping the beat) in an effort to be clever (doing a few tricky solos).

Sounds like a lot of advertising that’s around at the moment.

Examples please? OK.

1. Nando’s pole dancing, patch wearing mother of two. What the? I really wanted to like it but I couldn’t even get it. I watched it over and over but still nothing.

Visit the strip club here.

2. Mars Bar meets John McEnroe. He gets angry, eats a Mars bar, and then wins. Here, clever cutting and editing don’t make up for a non-existent idea. Why a Mars bar? Why not a slice of Pizza, a new shirt or a read of a magazine? I really don’t understand how the Mars Bar has helped him. Also, does anyone under 45 know who he is?

Check it out here.

3. The creepy Heinz ad where a middle-aged man meets his childhood sweetheart … only she’s had a sex change. Didn’t see that coming. In the words of Pauline Hansen, ‘Please Explain?’ Gender re-assignment? Beans? Have I missed something?

Australia's only trans-gender baked bean ad

After viewing this lot I feel a bit thick. I’m sure other consumers do too. Did the marketers really want to come across as elitist smart-alecs who are superior to their consumers? I doubt it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for having a go at being funny and entertaining. There should be more of it. But not at the expense of the message or the marketer’s production and media budget.

So next time the creative team are getting all clever, stop and ask, ‘are we keeping the beat or are we doing a little solo while the rest of the band falls apart?’