Friday, October 27, 2006

Painting the town red, blue, yellow

Following on from Dove's latest advertising campaign, another campaign caught our eye here at AME Marketing this week - at first for its amazing visual imagery and later for the controversy which now surrounds it.

After the last advertisement in which thousands of different coloured bouncing balls were sent down a hilly street in San Francisco, Sony Bravia have released another colourful, striking advert. Yet it appears that the ad is striking for all the wrong reasons.

Set against the backdrop of a Glasgow housing estate, the commercial shows the estate being covered in paint from a series of firework-like explosions.

So, what's the problem? Well, the advert shows a clown running away in one shot, insinuating he orchestrated all of this commotion. As a result, some viewers have apparently felt quite disturbed. Marketing Week reported on 25th October that the industry regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had received complaints from TV viewers that the advert was too reminiscent of the attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001. It seems high-rise buildings + explosions = inappropriate "in today's climate of terror".

Sony and the advertising agency responsible for the advert, Fallon, have insisted that the estate used was completely empty and due for demolition. The paint that was used was also non-toxic and a team of sixty people spent five days cleaning up after the shoot. However, complaints have still been made and the ASA is now considering whether to launch an investigation.

In my opinion, the ad looks more like a fireworks display than a bombing and the agency that devised the campaign probably used a clown since they are known to be mischievous pranksters. The message I took from the commercial is that Sony Bravia celebrates colour, evident from this paint firework display, and fun, highlighted by their use of a clown. The idea that there were any connotations of terrorism did not even cross my mind. Yet I am surprised that this was never considered by those who created the ad, because if a message can be taken the wrong way, chances are it will be by someone.

There is no doubting the visual impact of the advert, and perhaps, without the use of a "perpetrator" there would not have been such a reaction. But what do you think? Is this just a lot of fuss over nothing or is the advert a bit close to the bone only five years after such a devastating attack?



Post a Comment

<< Home