Have you ever been embarrassingly full-moon, butt-nekked in a coffee shop or bookstore? You probably have, if you’ve tapped into public wifi. You just didn’t know it.
That’s the gist of a new long-form ad that launched Tuesday and aims to show how vulnerable we all are when we check email on an airplane or surf the web at a public hotspot. And since the service being hawked is called Hide My Ass! (yes, really, with the exclamation point as part of the official name), what better way to illustrate the point than with some SFW nudity?
Hide My Ass!, a global company headquartered in London with nearly 1,000 servers and 250,000 active subscribers, hasn’t done much marketing in the U.S. So, this is its coming-out party, so to speak, and it involves a whole mess of birthday-suited characters in a short film from Utah-based agencies Chamber.Media and Creatus.
“The internet is not as secure as we think, and there are people just waiting to take advantage,” says Derral Eves, CEO of Creatus. “Plus, it’s such a common nightmare scenario to be naked in public, so we wanted to use that.”
The video is intended to educate consumers about a service they may know nothing about and to “explain complex technology in a way that’s not boring,” says Travis Chambers, chief media hacker at Chamber.Media. “If we shave it into a guy’s back hair, that’s gonna be hard to ignore.”
The four-and-a-half minute ad, shot in Salt Lake City over several days, used fishing wire, tear-away clothes and a bunch of strategically placed production assistants to create the skin-baring sight gag of clothes flying off bodies. Because the team went practical instead of computer-generated for those effects, it took “hundreds of takes to get that right,” Chambers said.
No one was left in the buff, he said, thanks to flesh-toned body suits. “It’s strictly PG,” Chambers said.
There was a little Hollywood gimmickry added to a few scenes, even though the cattle call specifically asked for hirsute men who didn’t mind having their backs shaved.
The ad execs brainstormed a second choice for the ad, about a 10-year-old boy who watches a YouTube tutorial and then hacks his dad’s social media accounts. But they dismissed it as both too possible and too terrifying.
Taking a page from their own modern informercial format—they’ve worked on long-form Squatty Potty and Nerd Skincare ads, among other viral hits—the creators focus the spot on a charming narrator who walks viewers through the details of Hide My Ass! “Actual product,” he says, making sure to distinguish the video from a parody, while sprinkling his explanation with metaphors galore and calling HMA! the “Fort Knox of protection” and likening it to “a comfy turtleneck sweater.”
The digital campaign, targeting mainly professionals and business travelers, could reach a broad audience, Chambers believes, because “it’s an unprecedented time in the culture for privacy, and the public interest in it is probably higher than it’s ever been.”
And if that’s not enough enticement, there’s a pirate without his eye patch, a nude beach, manscaping, awful fan fiction and a mortifying mother-son commando moment.
Agency: Chamber.Media & Creatus
Executive Producer, Director: Travis Chambers, Derral Eves
Writers: Travis Chambers, Derral Eves
Creative Directors: Travis Chambers, Derral Eves, Stefan van de Graaff
Producer: Stefan van de Graaff
Director of Photography: Casey Wilson
Lead Actor: Danor Gerald
Assistant Director: Willem Kampenhout
Gaffer: Carl Gundestrup
Set Design: Dillon Ellefson
FX: Wray Featherstone
VFX: Aaron Sorensen, Tel Stewart
Editing: Travis Babcock
Hair & Make-up: Vanae Morris
Wardrobe: Jennifer McGrew, Tami Haller
1st AC: Andy Baker
2nd Camera: Tel Stewart
Audio Tech: Eric Lawrence
Story Board Artist: Eduardo Badi
Motion Graphics: Travis Babcock