Jan 27, 2009

Tue: I would change the "Feed the Pig" ads

I’m a Marketing major, so when I watch TV one of my favorite parts are the commercials. Maybe it’s cause I have a short attention span, or a primitive sense of humor or something but they just fascinate me. Actually I think they fascinate a lot of people. A good commercial can get more people excited and thinking than a 90 minute movie. And at the worst a bad commercial is like a car accident that you’re driving by, it’s painful to look at but will be gone soon. So when I see these commercial I kind of internally rate them. The Rhapsody commercial where that girl is floating in bubbles = Great, the Whataburger commercial where….well actually every single Whataburger commercial = Terrible. There is a series of commercials I’ve seen lately that just has me absolutely mystified. They’re called “Feed the Pig” ads, and are created by the Ad Council. The Ad Council according to people in the know (AKA Wikipedia) is a non-profit organization that makes Public Service Announcements about…well…everything. Look it up online if you’re bored you’ve probably seen a bunch of them like the fish out of water that’s supposed to educate about Asthma, or the “Buzz driving is Drunk driving” commercials. Generally they put out some pretty good stuff. The “Pig” ads however are just surreally bad and definitely send the wrong message. Well here see for youself:

Financial Literacy- Feed the Pig - The most popular videos are here

I know it’s kind of hard to tell, but the idea is to get people to revive the long lost art of saving money, or at least maybe stop spending money they don’t have. Did you get that? No? I didn’t think so. Here’s why I think that is:

First of all, MAN, THAT PIG IS CREEPY! He’s exactly what I always pictured Napoleon looking like at the end of Animal Farm. If that thing comes up to me asking for money I’m giving it to him. Then I’m running and praying I never run into another cloven hoofed nightmare again.

Not only is he absolutely terrifying, he doesn’t really seem like he’s helping people save money so much as extorting protection money from them. Like some muscle for a farmyard mafia who also runs moonshine and insurance scams. It doesn’t feel right to give him money. There’s no way his intentions are good. And the look on the people’s faces when they see him coming just absolutely cements it. Also the piggy bank should be their friend not the local bully forcing you to “feed” him, especially since he’s already borderline obese. I mean I know he’s a pig but we have an analogy we're trying to create. People aren't saving ergo people aren’t feeding him! That’s why we’re doing the ads, he should be Ethiopian skinny! Also, he’s dressed in a cheesy but expensive looking suit. The pig is poor, he should be dragging himself around in a hollowed out barrel like something out of Bugs Bunny. In this commercial he endears himself further by physically abusing some guy.

I’m thinking they realized the fact that the Pig was wildly creepy because lately they changed him to something a little less creepy, but still rivals the Burger King “King” for top spot of advertising characters who could mentally scar small children . Have a look:

Financial Literacy - Royal Family - Watch the best video clips here

So here’s the change: We keep the Piggy bank idea, it’s nostalgic, universal, relatable etc. We change that freaky pig to something more like HAM from Toy Story, except skinnier.
And follow one character as me makes some wise money saving decisions throughout his day. He eats a brown bag lunch instead of going out with his co-workers then throws some money to the tiny famished pig. He rents a movie instead of going to a movie and throws more money to the slightly less thin Pig. He cancels his magazine subscriptions and throws more money to the normal sized Pig. He consolidates his credit cards and lowers his interest and throws more money to the Pig who is now RIPPED. Then he gets in a car crash, but it’s OK cause the Pig hops out of the back of his car, focuses on the car and magically the car is good as new. The pig is then slightly smaller but the guy can drive off with no worries.

You could do this type of thing over and over, incorporating different tips and using different rewards. Woman forgoes Starbucks, and the pig gives her new shoes. Guy starts biking places and shutting off lights when he’s not home and the pig makes his tiny TV into Big screen TV. A family takes a smaller vacation like camping or hiking, start getting movies from the library and the pig magically turns their apartment into a house. And on and on.

So less creepy pig, more interesting story and even (gasp) education and then I think the Pig Ads will be cool. What’d you think?

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