Yahoo's Lip Service


The new Yahoo commercial, "Lip Synch," part of the first work for the brand from Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, is cute and beautifully produced without being too slick. A sort of  "Geeks Gone Wild," it connects with the whole Glee, American Idol, reality TV and YouTube pop culture moment in which everyone can be the star of his or her own digital camera fantasies.

The fantasy begins in true Alice in Wonderland trip-like form, except here our hero steps through a door painted Yahoo purple. Then it's, hey, Mr. Cube Dwelling Office Dude, throw off that cheap, ill-fitting button-down shirt and tie, step into the limo, put on your tuxedo, come out with a model, take off your tuxedo and then sing Kanye West's "Flashing Lights" -- a great song. You, too, can be a rap star surrounded by paparazzi and bikinied ones.

Not that this is a breakthrough idea. But because the spot is so nicely cast, shot and cut, it makes up in its production what it lacks in originality. It's fun to watch, simple as that. It also makes Yahoo approachable. With the tagline, "Make Yahoo your home page," it suggests that the right brand of home page turns you into a famous homeboy.

It's certainly better than the previous work, which featured the uncomfortable spelling of "Y!ou" and a video that actually tried to sell us on a place where "time and space collide, and breed joy and wow. Where news travels faster and where you can consume, share, buzz, destroy, watch and wonder."

Well, that seemed to be about the Internet in general, whereas the new Goodby spot seems to be selling Yahoo as a leader in entertainment content, a sensible enough positioning.
But as cute and charming as it is, it still comes off as somewhat generic. What differentiates Yahoo from other portals? Why would I need to go there to get my music, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube fix? Plus, these days, technology has moved on from portals. When I'm away from my desktop, how will Yahoo figure into my smartphone or iPad apps?

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