Someone needs better focus groups

Ad campaigns like this one, public service ads directed at “youth” financed by LG about the dangers of inappropriate text messaging, make me wonder about the people making the decision to go ahead with this (ad website here).
First, the print ads that reference the gag in the videos don’t make any sense without that context. Warden Gentle’s beard is not a pop culture icon that people recognize apart from its owner (but it is amusing to think of some that people do: Elvis’ hair? Jay Leno’s chin? Pamela Anderson’s hooters? Robin Williams’ arm pelts?) and I can’t imagine being anything more than confused if I saw those posters out and about.
Second, I guess it’s something that they are playing lip service to the existence of the internet with a dedicated twitter account. I would imagine that they hoped their videos go viral, but there’s a reason why they wont. And it’s the same reason that they need better methodology or data about what their target audience finds appealing. It’s lame.
I’m guessing that they chose James Lipton as an “ironic” choice; maybe they thought that the juxtoposition of his distinguished diction with the mundane and un-James Lipton-like subject matter would be enough to be funny. It seems a little too bizzare to be the usual “pick someone the kids will look up to” model of PSAs. If that is the case, then they didn’t push it far enough. It comes across as awkward and disturbing.
I really wonder if they road-test these with real people. It doesn’t seem like it.

One response to “Someone needs better focus groups”

  1. I think the video ads are actually very funny. However, I do wonder how many young people today know who James Lipton is. If they haven’t seen Inside the Actor’s Studio, I doubt anyone would find them entertaining. With the advent of the internet though it is very easy for someone to find out who he is and thus to find the ads more appealing. It is my understanding from the internet response that they have been very well received by the middle aged demographic. It would seem to me that they have been successful in what I think of as their main purpose, which is not to make teens think twice (impossible?) but rather to make parents want to buy an LG phone because LG is a company that cares.

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