06 April 2008

[ad_design] Toyota's Matrix Campaign: Who Says Irony's Dead?

1473. Running in heavy rotation in the ad spaces on Technorati is a series of rather bizarre pieces. They seem to be ads. They seem to be ads slanted toward the audience that loves abusurd humor ... the kind who's watched Airplane! about 300 times (The "Don't Call Me Shirley" Edition) just to make extra sure that they didn't miss every little joke.

Some of the ads are cute and funny and verge on the disturbing. If what they advertise seems improbable, that's because they are. But we get ahead of ourselves. We definitely have to tip our cap and give propers, for some of them force concepts into spaces two of them should never, ever occupy; by rights, some of these ads should rend the utter fabric of time and space about them, causing the universe to be sucked, Slurpee-like, through the resulting hole.

The Cornett Motel (The One With The Two "T"s!), to start on the merely odd and funny end, has amenities that are dubious at best (a banner ad not included here exults in a "Free 28.8 modem in the lobby!" and "English/Croation Service"). Not to be missed is the lagoon-like swimming pool:

An organization calling itself PARMM inveghs against the Devil's music (wasn't that what they called jazz?) in this banner:

And offers a book in this sidebar (with a Mom that just seems to be saying "you're GROUNDED until you're thirty, little mister/miss):

Sakura will sell you lingerie for your animals (yes, including bras for pigs) in a style that cries "J-List!":

Some chap named Sebastian will teach you the basics of English style pub-fighting (For the non-anglophile, bloke is another dude, and bird is your girl). Judging by his look, I'd trust him; he probably knows what he's talking about:

The ads for Mr. Raccoon's Pet Daycare start by abusing Cooper Black, and depart from the WTF station on an express train straight to the land of the "Uh-Oh Feeling":

Isn't loving pets almost too much like, almost actionable under law? And those manga eyes just give me the creeps.

And, veering into the Twilight zone is some scrawls on looseleaf which indeed suggest They are listening, and whatever it is, you got to buy it now. Somehow ham radios are involved:

But where does it all go? If you do click on one of the ads, you'll find that The Matrix has you, Neo. All these are designed is to get you to click on a highly improbably ad concept to go see the new Toyota Matrix.

We don't really have any specific problem with clever-clever advertising, and the jokes in the Toyota campaign are rather funny actually. But something about this sort of thing is ... well, it's gotten kind of tiresome over the years. Of course, it's an irritating kind of dishonesty that gets your clicks to add to stats to prove that, at least by stats, the campaign is a success.

I look at it this way: if someone's going to engage my curiosity, then it might be something I might actually want to buy right now. Toyota's Matrix campaign, while humorous, in the end does nothing but steals a bit of my time and attention. I can't imagine, especially the way the economy's headed everyone is willing to just jump up from thier computers and buy them a Matrix.

Perhaps that misses the point there; maybe all they're going is for mindshare.

Still, one of the most powerful features of advertising is its power to manipulate. This is a tool, neither good nor bad. If you fool too many people, though, for good or bad, all you get is a cynical population who is resistant to advertising; so you have to amp up the volume. The result is kind of an ad-crazy world (actually, we realize our lament is a few decades belated; indeed, that train left the station sometime during the 70's, when they started advertising that modern-English Bible translation (remember The Book?), as far as we're concerned. But we parenthetically digress).

Therefore, the Matrix campaign, while indeed righteously funny, leaves us kind of empty inside. The joke over, the punchline is sort of ... well, we've been there before. Meh.

If you want to advertise a car to me, then just advertise a car. I've seen some danged clever "just advertise the car" commercials.

Tags: , , , , ,

Powered by Qumana

No comments: