BBH London Fails to ‘Own the Weekend’ for British Newspapers

By Jordan Teicher 

Using some replacement movie-trailer-guy voiceover and repeating “Owned” is a slippery slope of dumb comedy that risks making the product look much dumber than it should. That’s what we have here in “Own the Weekend,” created by BBH London for the Guardian and Observer weekend editions. There’s even a totally out-of-place intro from Hugh Grant that has nothing to do with the actual ad and makes this silly mess a whole lot messier.

To give a brief description of something that doesn’t have much coherence: the two British newspapers trademark the word “weekend,” presumably because their Saturday and Sunday papers are so wonderful that it’s hard to imagine the concept of the weekend without their titles attached to it. Various gags are built on this idea. The voiceover actor says “Owned” a lot. If the clip doesn’t make much sense to you, that’s because it doesn’t make much sense. How can this spot be so tone-deaf when the same shop and client produced an awesomely sharp spot about the three little pigs in 2012 that won a London International Award?

If you happen to watch the end of the clip – which runs too long at three minutes – you’ll even see an elevator scene that ironically makes the Guardian and Observer look even worse. Two guys are talking about their weekends, and one guy (sane) forgets to use the trademark gag. The other guy (dumb) won’t respond unless his weekend is addressed as “Guardian and Observer weekend.” The sane guy, who the viewer relates to, doesn’t get why everyone has to use the trademark, and the dumb guy laughs at him for not following the crowd. It’s the exact slapstick scene that would be used by some competitor to make the two newspapers look foolish and out-of-touch. Yet, it’s here, making the clients look foolish and out-of-touch, instead.