As an ardent lover of advertising, I truly respect the skill that goes into crafting a spot that reaches a target market and speaks to their sensibilities. I also understand that not every ad is meant for every audience. It’s simply impossible to create a commercial that will vibe with everyone. But every once in a while I look at a commercial and wonder what the hell they are trying to do.
This commercial for travel company Kayak.com ignited a burning hatred in me I really can’t compare to any other ad. Yes, even more than the Charmin Bears. I apologize for the low quality of the video, it’s certainly the best one I could find leading me to wonder if Kayak is scrubbing the internet of its presence.
Sam and Lisa West are champion dancers in a style called Shag (pause for giggling). Clearly they are wonderful dancers who have worked hard at perfecting their art.
That doesn’t stop me from hating this commercial.
As wonderful as they may be (and I’m sure they are generally delightful), I find them to be the least charismatic spokespeople I have seen. Not only do they seem uncomfortable having to act while dancing, I feel like they were handed some really crappy lines to begin with. The entire ad feels off and weird and all too precious.
Additionally, Spokespeople generally have a built in fan base and a wide appeal. These folks are truly obscure to the population in general, leaving viewer to wonder what is going on, who these people are and why should we listen to them.
The ad starts off with Sam enthusiastically proclaiming how he misses shiny floors (what?) He goes on to expound on the wonders of Kayak.com (sounds good) then he makes a hard turn to the camera, breaking the 4th wall, and yells “Tip Tap Time!” (Again, What?) Lisa instructs him to do the “Wet Dog Wiggle” (huh??) Then they shuffle up to the reception desk where Sam hits the bell with his foot, despite the hotel employee being right there (gross.) She doesn’t seem too impressed with them.
This is also such a departure from Kayak’s usual advertising of awkward people looking for travel accommodations in visually interesting ways.
Or is it?
Despite repeated watching of the ad, I’m still not sure why it has struck such a white-hot hatred in me. Maybe it’s because so many companies use amazing spokespeople to their advantage such as Eminem in that brilliant Chrysler “Imported from Detroit” ad. Maybe its because it seems to have sucked out all the joy and excitement that can come from a great trip. Maybe it’s because I feel if you are going to ask people to listen to your message, it better be on point; if you’re going to ask someone to represent your company, you better make them look great.
I don’t know, but I do know a crappy commercial when I see one.