“Trojan Horse”

If you own a printer, you’ve probably learned that it’s something of a Trojan horse: surprisingly cheap to buy, but then appallingly expensive to operate. It’s fitting, therefore, that this commercial (via Ogilvy & Mather in New York) stars an oversize, man-made horse stressing that Kodak’s new EasyShare all-in-one printer is economical to run. Time-lapse images show the horse being decorated with printouts of photos, drawings and other visuals, which we see being churned out of the “revolutionary” Kodak machine. This art project is interesting to watch, but (you might think) wouldn’t the cost in ink alone be enough to bust anyone’s budget? Before the viewer can start brooding about that, a voiceover jumps in with the reassuring sales pitch: “Now print anything you can imagine for as little as half the cost of other printers.” The spot invites you to visit a Kodak Web site for all the details on “how much you can save.” Kodak printers also churn out the messages “Print More for Less” and “Affordable Printing for All,” so viewers would have to be nearly comatose to miss the point that the EasyShare is a money saver. Often, commercials that emphasize cost savings have as their subtext the premise that the target viewer is a penny-pinching skinflint. That may be true, but it’s not flattering. What’s shrewd about this spot is that it presents this product benefit in the context of something grand and fun. While the green-eyeshade part of your brain registers the fact that the EasyShare will be easy on your budget, other parts of your brain can savor the possibility of (affordably) doing great things, equine or otherwise.–Mark Dolliver