Cliff Freeman goes to extremes to get Budget noticed electrocution, hypothermia and vomit are among the misfortunes that take center stage in Cliff Freeman and Partners’ first work for Budget Rent A Car.
The client expects to spend $5 million in fourth-quarter media and $40 million next year on the campaign, which began last week with cable TV, print, radio and outdoor executions.
Five new TV spots open with a group of young Budget marketing executives devising incentives for consumers to choose the nation’s third-largest rental-car company. Every time someone in the group makes a far-out suggestion, they imagine the possibilities, but all end in a debacle.
“We wanted to take each scenario to its worst possible solution,” says copywriter Steve Doppelt.
In one 30-second ad touting an offer to rent a Ford Ranger for the price of an economy car, one executive suggests, “What about, ‘Rent a Ranger for the day, be a ranger for the day?'” The ad cuts to a guy in a park ranger uniform feeding a baby bear, which proceeds to vomit on him.
Another spot shows the marketing group wondering whether there’s a faster way to get people to their rental cars. The idea of jet propulsion packs is rejected after a traveler takes off and gets electrocuted in a cluster of telephone lines.
A third ad has the team fantasizing about customers renting a Ford Explorer for the price of a Ford Taurus if they can climb Mount Everest. Cut to three climbers up to their waists in snow, their faces frozen into a contortion.
Although the goal of the campaign “is to articulate the merits of service and products in an aggressive, edgy and humorous way,” says Budget Group chairman and CEO Sandy Miller, the outrageous concepts were not part of the agency’s original presentation.
The client was impressed with Cliff Freeman’s work for Outpost.com and wanted something in that vein, says creative director Eric Silver. Focusing the spots on a marketing department “gave us the license to talk about anything,” he says. Dream on.
Budget Rent a Car
Agency: Cliff Freeman and Partners, New York
Creative Director: Eric Silver
Art Director: Jason Gaboriau
Copywriters: Steve Doppelt, Eric Silver
Agency Producer: Nick Felder
Director: Dante Ariola
Production Co.: Propaganda Films
Mind Over Matter
By Tim Nudd
Television talks back in humorous FCB ads for WebTV
Agency creatives are usually toy-friendly people, so it’s little surprise that WebTV’s ramped-up service has impressed Foote, Cone & Belding’s rank and file.
“It does so many things,” says Jeff Iorillo, creative director at FCB, San Francisco, which won the $50 million account in August. “We asked the client, ‘What are the six coolest things this thing does?’ Then we pared each one down to its basic coolness.”
The result is six 30-second TV spots now airing–plus an earlier 60-second launch ad–that sell WebTV’s coolness one feature at a time. The spots will air on network and cable TV through December.
“These are people who are really into TV,” Iorillo says of the target consumers, whose counterparts in the humorous ads don’t realize they need features such as picture e-mail, live TV pause, one-touch VCR record and interactive TV until characters on the tube tell them they do.
“What are you doing? This movie is terrible,” an actor in a cheesy Indian dance flick tells a dozy viewer in one spot. “There’s a science-fiction marathon on right now. You need WebTV to remind you of your favorite shows,” he adds.
“You didn’t even see the play!”
yells New York Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson at a fan in another ad. “You need to get WebTV so you can pause the action before you make your little wine-and-cheese run!”
With the ads’ knowing humor, usually at the expense of the TV viewer, the Palo Alto, Calif., client–owned by Microsoft–is skewing its new feature-laden service at a younger group than earlier ads from Rubin Postaer and Associates, Santa Monica, Calif.
“It’s an entertainment product. It deserves fun advertising,” Iorillo says. “We wanted to do these loopy, hilarious ads, with a sort of surreal thing happening in each one.”
Agency: Foote, Cone & Belding, San Francisco
Creative Directors: Jeff Iorillo, Tom Rosenfield, Brian Bacino
Copywriter: Jim DiPiazza
Art Director: John Davis
Agency Producer: Bob Gondell
Production Co.: HKM Productions
Director: Michael Patrick Jan
Get Adweek's Brand Marketing Daily Newsletter in your Inbox
Today's highs and lows of creativity