Get real, people.
It seems like more and more advertisers are foregoing the expensive celebrity endorsement and have started using “real” people in their ads. The idea is that these common folk are more relatable and believable than sports stars or a Kardashian. I mean, does anybody really think that Tiger Woods drives a Buick?
I’ve noticed a slew of these real-people ads recently, and one predominate theme is that of the real person being surprised or shocked in some way. Ford’s “Drive One” campaign features average men and women buying a car and then being quickly ushered through a door into a room where they are suddenly the subjects of a press conference. TV crews question the buyers on why, exactly, they chose a Ford. Does anyone else find it strange that, in this case, the subject is real and the press is phony?
The new Febreeze spots make me a little squeamish. We see a crew of Febreeze-ites spraying a room full of, allegedly, putrid food and moldy sweat socks. Then real people are grabbed off the street, blindfolded, and left alone on the set. I mean room. They’re asked to describe what they smell and it’s always something like, “It’s fresh, clean. Some kind of flower? Mmm, is that a rainbow I smell??” And then the blindfolds are removed and they find themselves in a hovel, shocked. I guess the good news is that you can live in filth and squalor as long as you spray it all down with weapons-grade artificial fragrance. (Meanwhile, if I found myself with my nose unknowingly pressed against a stained, moldy, and possibly disease-ridden pillow, I’d start throwing punches.)
Does watching a real someone at a fake press conference make me want to buy a Ford? Not really. Will I spray my house with fragrance rather than clean it? Probably. While the commercials certainly are amusing I, myself, hate to be unpleasantly surprised, but I enjoy seeing it done to others. Are consumers going to identify with these “real” people and buy more products? I wouldn’t be surprised.