Kids Given a Blockbuster Choice

JWT Ads Suggest Choosing Videos Is Among Kids’ Few Freedoms
CHICAGO–Blockbuster plays off the scarcity of choice and control in kids’ lives in a new campaign for its video rentals from J. Walter Thompson here.
It is the Dallas-based company’s first attempt to specifically target kids for rentals of movies as opposed to video games, said JWT account director Jill Rhiner.
The company found that children love to watch videos, “and even more than watching movies, kids love renting movies,” Rhiner said.
The campaign, which breaks April 5 on cable TV, humorously dramatizes scenarios where kids have very little control.
One spot depicts girls being tormented by a tough-guy gym teacher and a boy subjected to an elderly barber’s unsteady clippers –situations where the kids have few if any options. “Wanna make your own choices?” a voiceover asks. “You can go to Blockbuster and go home happy.”
The concept was born through research that indicated kids feel they have very little choice in their daily lives, Rhiner said.
“We wanted to dramatize that and make [the situations] funny,” she said. The campaign “empowers” kids by pointing them to Blockbuster’s special kids’ section.
Both 15- and 30-second spots will air on Nickelodeon. The 15-second executions will be paired with a teaser for an upcoming children’s video release, Rhiner said.
The ads employ the company’s tagline, “Go home happy.” W.B. Doner & Co. in Southfield, Mich., is Blockbuster’s lead agency, although Young & Rubicam, New York, developed the tag.
Blockbuster hired JWT last year on a project basis to create advertising for the company’s video game rental business and develop campaigns targeted at young people.
The agency’s work so far has focused on the video game side. Those spots are tagged, “Are you game enough?”

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