Cheetos and Boing-Boing: The Orange, Cheesy-Smelling Future of Advertising?

4 02 2009

Confession: I have been in the ad business a very long time.

I don’t mean when dinosaurs walked the Earth, or the end of America’s Civil War, mind you. Let’s just say my first job in an advertising agency at 17 years old was in print production, filing letterpress plates.

The point is, I’m as jaded about advertising as a 90 year old rodeo clown is about the circus.

I’ve pretty much seen all the acts before. Most days I’m less impressed by the spectacle than I am by the prodigious amount of elephant crap being generated.

But, there’s something orange and cheesy-smelling going on at Boing Boing and I think it might be good. First, let’s go to the video:

Here’s why I think they’re on to something.

They partnered with Boing Boing to create it. This brought them fantastic creative sensibilities, intelligence and instant internet credibility at (I’m guessing) a low price.

Boing Boing, to their credit, isn’t hiding its head in shame at crossing the increasingly meaningless line between “editorial church” and “advertising state”. Instead, their site says: “Normally we’d just run this as an ad alongside our editorial content, but I love it and there’s a complicated story behind it, so we’re running it on its own. Now, allow me to explain further. Warning, I am about to get all meta on your ass.”

No billion dollar production costs. The idea can spread virally (if you click from here, it costs Cheetos nada.) Worst case scenario, Cheetos gets to fail fast and learn a lot. Best case for Cheetos, a bunch more people end up having a laugh and getting orange fingers.

It doesn’t take itself seriously. They are not building cathedrals. The idea seems to be to entertain people and get them to think about Cheetos. There is apparently no fiendish master plan beyond this, and that’s a GOOD thing.

It dares to be stupid. Way too often, marketers and ad agencies get so blinded by their own magnificence that they make everything needlessly turgid and strategically complex and deep. There seems to be some misguided notion that the harder and uglier the process is, the larger the sales will be.”

Anyway, maybe it’s just Wednesday but I like what Cheetos is doing here. I like it a lot.

NOTE: Some marketers and ad agency people may bristle at being depicted as “blinded by their own magnificence.” I want to assure you that this is meant entirely as a compliment.

To quote from Monty Python, “Your highness, when I said that you are like a stream of bat’s piss, I only mean that you shine out like a shaft of gold when all around it is dark.”



One response

5 02 2009

Gold ribbon of uncertainty coming closer towards me can’t be what I thin it is oh no it’s…your shine like a shaft of gold!

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