Bank of America and Christopher Guest would like to remind you ad people that there is, in fact, such a thing as a bad idea. And the argument, which doesn't need much help to start with, gets an assist from none other than Billy Idol in a new campaign from Hill Holliday.
Five spots feature three Bank of America execs in a conference room, brainstorming ways to promote the company's "preferred rewards" for consumers. It's precisely the kind of idiocy that gets funnier as it goes along, reaching a high point as the marketing drones debate the wisdom of handing out free shrimp to customers.
Naturally, it turns out Idol's participation in two other ads is also born of a stupid idea: Asking him to sing the word "more," the staple lyric of his 1983 hit "Rebel Yell," even more times, to honor the volume of Bank of America's rewards. (The 59-year-old British rocker, though, is perhaps not as quite as thick as Guest and his imbecilic Spinal Tap bandmates.)
The campaign—four of the seven spots, including both Idol executions, will run on TV—is the latest addition to a growing pool of ads that mock the process of making ads, often with the help of celebrity endorsers. (Director Randy Krallman has excelled in the genre, shooting Ewen McGregor for BT, and more famously, Anna Kendrick for Newcastle.) That device, as with most navel-gazing, risks getting old quickly. But Guest—who also recently revived the spirit of his classic film Best in Show in a spate of ads for PetSmart—brings his own offbeat, deadpan flavor to the mission.
In fact, it manages to stay charmingly subversive. If these are the people running the show at Bank of America, it almost calls into question whether the brand—or anyone—should be bothering with marketing at all. See, it doesn't even make sense that Idol would balk at repeating the word "more" only 25 times. In the original song, he does it at least twice that.
Then again, he does, presumably, breathe in between.
Client: Bank of America
Agency: Hill Holiday, Boston
Chief Creative Officer: Lance Jensen
Group Creative Director: Spencer Deadrick/Will Uronis
Associate Creative Director: Matt Rockett
Copywriter: Mark Nardi
Art Director: Matt Rockett
Agency Executive Producer: Brian Gonsar
Agency Assistant Producer: Patrick Carney
Account Team: Leslee Kiley, Nancy Lehrer, Jeff Nowak, Kim Almazan, Andrew Still, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Brooke Patkin
Project Manager: Alison Baker
Planner: Linda Lewi
Business Affairs: Lenora Cushing
Production Company: GO, Hollywood, Calif.
Executive Producer: Gary Rose, Adam Bloom, Catherine Finkensteadt
Director: Christopher Guest
Managing Director: Gary Rose
Cinematographer: Anthony Hardwick
Line Producer: Mark Hyatt
Editorial: Jump LA
Editor: Patrick Griffin
Post Producer: Caroline O'Sullivan
Executive Post Producer: Betsy Beale
Licensed Music: Artist/Title: Billy Idol "Rebel Yell"
Post Production: Brickyard VFX
Executive Post Producer: Ellen Schmitt
Type Design/Animation: Blind, Inc
TypeDesign/Animation Head of Production: Amy Knerl
Telecine: Tom Poole at Company3
Audio Mixer: Mike Secher/Brian Heidebrecht at Soundtrack Boston
Voiceover: Will Arnett