Riney Rolling Out Irreverent Iomega TV Spots

Publicis & Hal Riney again shows its affinity for irreverent humor and over-the-top sight gags in a new TV campaign for Iomega. Billings were undisclosed.

The work, now breaking nationwide, plugs the company’s Zip technology, which allows users to store electronic files on small disks. The company claims Zip disks are more resistant to computer viruses and are a foolproof way of storing important material.

The spots also plug Iomega’s new digital audio player and a device that holds and displays digital photographs.

The three spots show people in casual situations when something catastrophic strikes. In one, a heavyset man named Fred lounges in a backyard pool with a drink in his hand. A voiceover asks viewers to think of Fred as a thesis saved on a computer. The voice then says a virus has appeared—and Fred is quickly whisked away by a sea monster. A “backup” version of Fred then reappears who was saved on a Zip disk.

The tagline is “Zip it.”

“We could have presented real-life situations,” said Michael Mazza, agency vice president and creative director. “But people wouldn’t have noticed because the airwaves are full of these types of ads. So we came up with metaphors because they are a good way to speak to the benefits of the product.”

Mazza said the agency is downplaying the technical aspects of Zip disks to keep more casual customers interested. While Zip products are popular with computer users, he said, the client wants the devices to catch on with the general public.

“The goal was not to use people who looked like models,” Mazza said, adding that the shop found its talent in shopping malls and stores.

A recent Riney campaign for Discover.com also featured strange characters—in that case, people dressed as insects and meteors.

Riney handles $785 million in billings. It also works with Saturn, eToys, Webvan, America West Airlines and First Union Corp.