Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Saatchi Lovemark Ads Are Magnificent!

Last week I talked about the announcement that Pay By Touch had "formed a unique partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide". It probably didn't mean a whole lot to folks who read it, so I thought I might delve deeper into why I felt it was so significant.

It's a new age and Pay By Touch has undoubtedly teamed with a winner, that being Saatchi and their CEO, Kevin Roberts. As I stated last week, "Under the alliance, Saatchi & Saatchi will provide Pay By Touch with strategic and creative counsel to "build a global Lovemark(R)."

Here's the first report, from Advertising Age Magazine, regarding how the advertising industry perceives Saatchi's Lovemark branding.

It should provide further insight into how the Pay By Touch relationship with Saatchi will benefit the company in the long run. I look forward to seeing what Saatchi CEO, Kevin Roberts comes up with for Pay By Touch.

Here's the article along with the 60 second commercial they put together for JC Penney. Of course, JC probably paid a pretty Penney for their thoughts...

JC Penney's First Saatchi 'Lovemarks' Ads Are Magnificent
Gorgeous Music Attached to Gorgeous Video to Gorgeous Effect

By Bob Garfield
Published: March 19, 2007

How can it be that our impression of a declasse American retail institution can be altered in the space of exactly 60 seconds? Not that we're exactly rushing into JC Penney to buy a shirt, much less a suit, but for the moment we are prepared to imagine that what we'll find there does not entirely conform with our preconceived notion of end-of-the-mall plasticity. Yesterday, we would not have been prepared to imagine that. Today, however is another story...

Thanks to one TV commercial. (to view commercials click this link to the Ad Age site and then open the JC Penney Calendar Spot and, further down, Famous Screen Moments, my personal favorite, which includes a scene from the Hitchock thriller "The Birds")

Opening Lovemarks salvo

The spot, from Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, is the opening salvo in the agency's first campaign for Penney's, a piece of business it won after Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts wooed the client with his notion of Lovemarks -- which is Roberts' term for establishing an emotional relationship between the consumer and the brand.
So far, so good, mate.

The commercial is called "Calendar," and it is magnificent -- for reasons that have very little to do with the selling proposition (such that it is) and everything to do with technique. It depicts a young family living life in an outsize music box, which revolves as they go about their dollhouse-perfect little day. This is a cool image to begin with, but then there's that music track, by Australian Melanie Horsnell.

I say, and so say I
My morning thought
It knew itself just fine
Until across the room
It caught its first glimpse
Of my afternoon
How can it be
That these things live in me?

Georgeous effect
You probably can't hear the song just by looking at those italicized lyrics, but take our word for it: It's spare and pretty and mesmerizing. The result is a spot that's affecting along the lines of two 2005 U.K. masterpieces, "Balls" for Sony Bravia TV and "Grrrr" for Honda, both of which had gorgeous pieces of music attached to gorgeous video to gorgeous effect.

The other spots are pretty impressive too. One, done just for the Academy Awards broadcast, shows ordinary people in little episodes duplicating famous screen moments. Our particular favorite bit was a woman screaming at a cabbie in a New York crosswalk, a la Ratso Rizzo in "Midnight Cowboy." The joke is that the cabbie wears a freaky mohawk, like Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro) in "Taxi Driver." (It also includes a scene from "The Birds" and Mary Poppins.)