Maybe it's me, but I don’t get it. I’m deeply disturbed by one of the finalists for the 2006 Radio Mercury Awards, a showcase for some of the best and brightest people in the industry. But I am confused (even baffled) by a thirty-second entry from JWT entitled "The Wreck" (Listen). I'll admit I'm not normal, I've listened to the darn thing at least ten times trying to figure it out. Normal people would just tune it out.
There are only two things missing from this commercial – intelligibility and any (direct or indirect) mention of a product or service. After extensive online research, the only thing I can figure out is that "The Wreck" ran concurrently with a television campaign called “What Would You Do For Love?” Even so, as a stand alone entity, “The Wreck” is a complete waste of the listener's time.
In their quest for realism, the producers went overboard on audio effects making it nearly impossible to understand at normal listening levels. Perhaps if this were an ad for OnStar, the Automobile Club or Honest Joe’s Towing the message might make some sense, but without a product or service reference, thirty-seconds of crappy audio provides an excellent reason to change the station.
Think of every ad in your campaign as a brick in a wall. And while a single brick does not make the wall, set on end, it is still able to stand on its own. You should never assume that your audience will stick around to see the entire wall, so make sure your ads make enough sense to stand on their own too.
Oh, by the way, the ad is for the Diamond Trading Company -the rough diamond sales arm of the DeBeers Group. The same folks who brought you "Diamonds Are Forever" and the phenomenal "Shadows" campaign. Go figure.