February 8, 2016

Workable idea + bad execution = puppymonkeybaby

If you didn't see the Super Bowl ad with the puppymonkeybaby, you may or may not want to watch this. It's pretty creepy and disturbing. So let's just get it out of the way, shall we?


First of all, I had no recollection of what company this ad represented, nor could I even remember anything about the product it was advertising. I found the creature so distracting and weird, that I missed the point entirely.

However. I do believe that this commercial is an example of an idea that COULD HAVE worked, but the execution is where it went wrong. Just like many presentations I've witnessed over the years!

When we create a message for an audience, we want to make sure that all the pieces work together: the core message, the content, the structure, the delivery and the call to action. Within those are many smaller pieces that must fall into place.

You might have a great idea, but not know how to put it together in a way that is compelling or makes an impact on your audience. All the pieces have to come together. An idea is just an idea until you bring it to life. And once it becomes concrete, you have to be sure that your audience understands it, connects with it, and maybe isn't horrified by it - unless there's a good reason!

I get that Mountain Dew wanted us to know that there are three awesome things that they're putting together into their beverage. And I get that they wanted to use some kind of metaphor/example/imagery for three things that we all like that don't normally show up together. I also get that they were going for the quirky randomness that has worked well for brands like Old Spice. And furthermore, I DO like puppies, monkeys and babies! So, they totally could have scored with this (and no, not just in getting people to talk about the commercial... talk does NOT equal buying).

I'm going to share an example of a re-do, where the idea and execution are better aligned, and I would love to have you share an example if you can come up with one. Let's revamp. Same message: "Three awesome things combined." Same creatures: Puppy, monkey, baby.

My version goes something like this: Guy pulls a can out of the cold case, with a curious look on his face. What's this new drink, he wonders. Either in a voiceover, or in words on the can, we see or hear something about how this drink contains three awesome things combined.

Now, the camera shows his face again, and he starts to imagine three things he likes and how they might go together. Above his head, we see what he's imagining: First a puppy (um, no offense to pug lovers, but a cuter puppy than a pug). Yep, pretty cute. He smiles. Now a monkey joins the puppy. Maybe they interact and play. Maybe not. Then a baby. Now he's nodding at the cuteness of these three critters and enjoying his vision.

They finally fuse into the puppymonkeybaby, which waves at him and startles him from his reverie. He pops the can, takes a drink. Yum. Three awesome things combined.

Okay, I'm not a director, so don't be too hard on me. :-) This is how I envision the same basic idea being executed TOTALLY differently, but perhaps in a way that might be more effective. I don't think the initial idea of three things we like - combined - is necessarily a bad idea. It just went wrong in the implementation. 

How about you? Would you share your revamp of the Mountain Dew commercial with the same basic message and ideas in place? I'd love to read your ideas in the comments!

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