Our pal Roger Baldacci from Arnold Worldwide is back with his bi-weekly campaign critiques. This time, he offers his $.02 on Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s attempt to rid the world of child slavery. Take it away, Roger.
This week, I thought I’d take a brief hiatus from my personal crusade against viral stunt videos and lighten things up. Have a bit of a laugh. Enjoy some blithe comedy while we explore the more hilarious aspects of child sex trafficking.
A lot of people are up in arms about this unconventional effort from Ashton Kutcher and his cougar wife Demi Moore to heighten awareness of forced prostitution. What offends me the most, frankly, is that these videos are not terribly funny. It’s hard enough to make people laugh in general. Comedy writing is actually very difficult. One need only judge the radio category at any major award show to truly grasp this tragic truism. So making people laugh while talking about the child sex trade is even more difficult. Ashton and Demi went with using A-list celebrities and the soon-to-be patented “Old Spice type” humor. In fact, the Old Spice guy even starred in one of the videos. Thanks to the fine folks at Wieden, we will all be subjected to this brand of “off-beat” humor in the coming years to sell everything from CPG products (“Look at your Swiffer mop, now back at me!”) to more hard hitting/comedic public service campaigns for issues like female genital mutilation.
I get what they are trying to do. It’s the Outpost.com hamster cannon all over again. If people are talking about it, even hating on it, then they are talking about this very important issue. And guys are the target and are more likely to pass along something crude and funny versus a more powerful, sobering message. And it’s working, is it not? I am writing about it. But it just doesn’t feel right. It’s like watching the clip of Michael Richards committing career suicide in front of your eyes. Still, I joined their Facebook page, found my photo embedded in the spot and witnessed Jessica Biel say directly to the camera as if she had inside knowledge- “Roger is a real man.” Talk about uncomfortable comedy.