Circuit City “Mixed Signals”

 Though voters insist they hate negative advertising, the results on election day tend to show they’re swayed by such messages. The same is likely true of advertising for consumer brands. But in the latter genre, it’s especially important to balance the negative with the positive. A new spot for Circuit City (via Euro RSCG Chicago) does a deft job if this. With its mimicry of a woman’s travails on the dating circuit (her date here being a handsome but shifty camera), the spot aptly evokes the “mixed signals” that some consumer-electronics retailers give about the prices for their wares. Since consumers often think of electronics retailers as being potentially fly-by-night, they’ll be predisposed to agree that stores too often display one price in their print ad, another price online and yet another at the store. It’s a clever (but not excessively clever) setup for the voiceover’s reference to Circuit City’s “one-price promise,” a selling point emphasized by using those words as an onscreen super — albeit without the hyphen that should appear between “one” and “price.” When a Circuit City staffer introduces an obviously sincere, ready-to-commit-to-one-price camera to the spot’s protagonist, it gives the spot a positive ending. Best touch: the way the camera extends its zoom lens toward the woman.  –Mark Dolliver