Ad of the Week: So fast. Furiously fast.
by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) M&C Saatchi Abel and and director Bevan Cullinan of Picture Tree pay homage to a classic video game in a seriously funny ad that does a great job of selling MWEB’s ADSL speed.
What is it with cars and speed? On the odd occasion (less now that my own kids are grown up) that I find myself at the games arcade, there are a few games I love to play. Two of them are Need for Speed Underground and Fast and Furious Drift. Both put you in the driver’s seat of a car in a street racing scenario. Of course, this is the video-gaming universe, so some of the scenarios you’ll find yourself in when you’re playing the game are pretty ‘out there’. But there is no doubt that there is a thrill in racing through neon-lit streets, skidding around corners, and chasing the lead car in a dice to the finish.
Great buildup scene
The Fast and Furious game features a great buildup scene, where, once you have chosen your track and car, you find yourself at the starting line. A woman in a mini-skirt saunters out in front of the cars, raises a piece of cloth, and then waves it down to signal the start of the race.
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Fast & Furious is something of an American franchise. This series of action movies that pivot around illegal street racing — which first premiered in 2001, starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker — became an instant classic. Box Office Mojo reports that it has become Universal’s biggest-ever franchise and as of May 2015 grossed some US$184 398 864 [or just over R3bn]. Diesel was relatively unknown when he first featured in the Fast & Furious franchise, but the film made him an instant star. Fast 8, currently in production, is filming in New York, and is due to hit theatres in April 2017.
Someone at M&C Saatchi Abel must also enjoy this movie series and its attendant game, because this opening scene has been faithfully reproduced in the latest TVC for MWEB. And the point of the ad? Speed. Of course. MWEB claims to offer better speed, and to persuade people to switch to it as an ISP, it is offering three months’ free internet, plus three free months to try out Showmax, one of the local streaming-video services that is taking on Netflix.
The ad is set in an underground parking garage. Two muscle cars are lined up, ready for a street race. The camera gives us close-ups of the two drivers as they stare at each other and rev their engines; the music pumps with a hard rock beat. The camera moves are dramatic, pulling focus and craning in to match the sense of rising excitement.
Obligatory eye-catching woman
And there she is! The obligatory, eye-catching woman, in a yellow leather mini-skirt stands in front of the cars. She points to the first, and he revs his engine. She points to the second, and we see a close-up of a chrome-skull gearshift being pushed. The woman raises her arms and drops down, as the cars… don’t exactly race off past her. She looks on in surprise as they start to crawl past her. The two drivers glance at each other awkwardly.
“Don’t settle for slow,” is the narration. “Get four megabits per second uncapped ADSL and you’ll get three months’ free ADSL, plus three months’ free Showmax on us.”
By this time the drivers are slowly passing the flag bearer, who is giving the drivers a stony look. The one driver has gone from looking rugged to sheepish — clearly his sex-appeal has just plummeted to zero!
This was a laugh-out-loud funny advert, partly because it played such careful homage to a classic video game, and partly because it went from deadly serious to silly in a moment — and that makes for great comedy. Plus, of course, it sold the main USP that MWEB is offering — fast internet at an affordable price… with a bonus.
Linking the a product USP to a hugely successful franchise such as Fast & Furious is such a great idea, because it tells you everything you need to know about internet speed in a fun, engaging and exciting way. Product features can be so dull, which is why they need great creative minds to communicate them in a compelling and convincing way.
Great execution of a brilliant idea by M&C Saatchi Abel and Picture Tree. As the late, great Roger Ebert would say — this ad gets two thumbs up!
Creative agency: M&C Saatchi Abel
Creative director: Mark Winkler
Executive creative director: Gordon Ray
Copywriter: Deanne Hofhuis
Art director: Carla Kuhn
Account director: Illé Potgieter
Agency producer: Lucy Witts
Strategist: Robert Grace
Production company: Picture Tree
Director: Bevan Cullinan
Director of photography: Willie Nel
Editor: Graham Smith
Post production: Orchestra Blue
Ad of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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