Ricky Gervais Returns for Emotive, Optus

By Erik Oster 

Agency Emotive first teamed up with Ricky Gervais for Australian broadband and cable company Optus early this spring for a campaign in which Gervais handily displayed that he is the ultimate reluctant celebrity spokesperson. Now Gervais is back for a pair of follow-up spots mining the approach further.

As we’ve pointed out before, the reluctant celebrity spokesperson is one of the most overusethe d advertising tropes of the past couple of years, but Gervais somehow made the approach funny anyway with his first campaign for Optus. While the new spots don’t reach same heights as the original efforts, Gervais is still on point, retaining his role as easily the most believable and funniest reluctant pitchman with the two new ads. In “Optus called Ricky again…” he explains that he’s being paid “more money for less effort” this time around, before making that seem entirely believable.

The spot simply shows Gervais drinking coffee on set while sitting down and he does absolutely nothing to talk up the service, ending by calling for  a voiceover rather than explaining what the ad is about. In another spot, Gervais talks about how he was concerned about how the ads might detract from his artistic integrity but when they told him they’d be airing in Australia he just shrugged. Throughout it all, Gervais’ apparent complete lack of effort is entirely believable. That, coupled with his comedic voice and timing help excuse the overly used approach, even if it feels less fresh than last time. Hopefully now agencies can give the trope a bit of a rest, although we wouldn’t bet on it.

“The first Ricky piece released earlier this year delivered over 8 million streams with record sharing levels. The audience enjoyed it and wanted more,” Emotive executive creative director Charlie Leahy told Adweek. “This follow-up once again allows Ricky to take control of the scripts and deliver it with his globally renowned comedy style. It was a privilege to work in a true collaboration with Ricky and the team at Optus on this content campaign.”