Hotels.com “Smart”

Aardman’s signature visual style has graced so many commercials through the years, the novelty has long worn off. The mere presence of characters animated by the U.K. studio does not guarantee a compelling spot. That’s the case in this Y&R ad for Hotels.com. It’s fairly amusing to watch, especially the facial expression on the lead character, named “Smart,” and his unusually agile Vandyke. Beyond that, the effort touting the site’s “Welcome Rewards” program is flat. The actors do their best with the lines, but the script could be selling pretty much anything. Hotels.com calls the animated approach an attempt to stand out from the pack; instead, the work becomes just another Claymation spot, not that much different than the rest. Viewers could well check out, in terms of paying attention to the spot, instead of absorbing what the service has to offer and using it the next time they need to make plans for checking in. –David Gianatasio