Monday, February 27, 2006

The Fake Testimonial. Now with more Fake.

As I’ve said, the Fake Testimonial is the lowest form of advertising. “Chuck” Schwab has polished the turd to a super shiny sheen by cartoonizing the “customers.” Yes, this campaign has been around since October, but the latest spot featuring the woman on the ski lift—shown ad nauseam during the Olympics—just set me off. Chuck's message is exactly the same as TD Waterhouse and many other brokerage firms: We let You take control of your investments! It’s just delivered by fake-cartoon fake non-customer paid actors mouthing fake words written by a fake writer, aka an ad copywriter. You can watch the fakery here.

20 Comments:

Blogger nol said...

new reader here, and i'm liking your blog.

funny this should be the first post i read because i have always thought, "who was the one who came up with fake testimonials?" it has to be the laziest advertising around.

lowest form, indeed.

i will say however, you're watching rotoscoped film. still fake, but still a real actor.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Make the logo bigger said...

Hated these when I first saw them. The rotoscope effect was ok for the Keanu movie, because it was based on the original visual style of the comic. But these, even if they were shown straight up, the marketing speak alone screams fake.

I'd have more respect if they just interviewed someone on the street andd got a real reaction. Can’t anyone do testimonials well?

State Farm has what looks like real agents with fake couples. There’s also another one out for an energy company asking people about their environmental 'footprint' for energy consumption, and every actor in it looks perfect. Just like real life, so it must be true.

12:43 PM  
Blogger [ tyler curtain ] said...

This ad gives me the serious creeps. Inhuman and offputting. What were they thinking?

12:44 PM  
Anonymous shadow said...

the first time I saw this animation-over-live-action effect was at RESFEST 2000...In a short "Snack and Drink" by Bob Sabiston.
Then in the "Waking Life" movie by Richard Linklater.

my 2 cents here.

12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, cr, i just read your long list of dislikes. did starbucks make you change their name to charbucks? what up with that?

12:58 PM  
Blogger ElMachino said...

I found the effect visually interesting, but it had the opposite intended effect of distracting me from whatever they were saying. Maybe they need a Superhero and Villain setup so we can just be entertained. Or perhaps they should make the people look like those in your previous Mashups Friday post.

1:58 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

anon, no I changed it because the coffee tastes "charred" to me.

2:03 PM  
Blogger LisaBinDaCity said...

I think it's a really stupid commercial...

2:06 PM  
Blogger Key said...

Thank you Copyranter, for I was ranting about this ad last night in a bar during the endless Gay Olympics closing ceremony. Do you think part of the reason for the cartoon is to be able to pay the "actors" less money?

4:11 PM  
Anonymous Todd said...

I think the visual style breaks through the clutter. But then it breaks through and says, "Look at me, I'm a shiny turd!" Pity.

5:00 PM  
Blogger Make the logo bigger said...

I wonder when you go into one of their branches if an advisor meets you wearing an illustrated mask. That would be really BK creepy.

7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree the whole cartoon/investor Dad thing is piss poor. But here's my challenge to you ad guys from a lemming consumer... You sell a commoditized service which collects $10 per transaction as compared to the competition's $9 or $11 price point. The client does all the leg work (research on fundmantals, risk, his personal financial situation, etc.). He only needs a computer to complete the transaction on his behalf, which he is legally prohibited from doing.

So here we are... what brilliant positioning/campaign can anyone submit that actually might compell someone to chos Chas. Schwab over any other pencil-pusher out there?

Blog me that, Blogger.

7:56 PM  
Blogger copyranter said...

anon: Something besides the fake testimonial, that's for sure. Otherwise, pay me, and give me 2 weeks and I'll come with something good.

8:42 PM  
Blogger Make the logo bigger said...

But this isn’t about the brand message per se. I think most just hate the execution.

Hmm, assuming though that that was the brief? I'd start by addressing the ‘why should they come to Chuck’ part if they charge more than the comp. (And all of them are no picnic to use either.)

But I start by focusing on their rep as financial advisors and the experience behind that rep.

When it comes to your money, it’s as much about how much you trust the company handling it as it is how much they’re charging. I’d have to ask as part of the thinking: do you really feel that more secure going with e-trade just 'cause they’re a buck cheaper per trade?

That’s one insight. Any actual brilliance in the form of ideas though? Well, I could tell you more, but then I’d have to bill you.

;-p

8:44 PM  
Blogger Jim Symcox said...

I've always told my clients that fake testimonials almost always can be recognised.

As soon as they are the ad and the company face being branded liars.

Which of course means believeability in both drops through the floor.

6:34 AM  
Blogger Krissythegroupie said...

They should just have like, the Thundercats doin the testimony instead. Just go balls-to-the-wall. And ya know, I would *trust* Cheetarah.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I found the rotoscope effect visually interesting too...when I saw it in 1985 in a FUCKING A-HA VIDEO.

Now, if that chick in the chairlift belted out "Take on Me" after she fired on the chapstik, "Chuck" might be getting somewhere in this campaign.

4:58 PM  
Blogger ElMachino said...

What, anon, it took you two days to Google some references? Visually interesting. Not necessarily groundbreaking. Like fucking a-ha.

6:47 PM  
Anonymous jay said...

What's the point of cartooning it up anyway? What does that add to the message?

And the ski lady is very creepy. Bad plastic surgery and cartooning is a dangerous mix.

/Ha, Charbucks! They've really got your balls in a juicer now.

10:30 AM  
Blogger Jayne Neverow said...

I know one of the actors in these horrible ads. Total d-bag.

10:01 PM  

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