When Words Fail, Call in Bob Garfield

We love it when Ad Age releases a really tough, critical article about something. We particularly like it when it’s related to something we also found equally troubling. In this case, it’s Bob Garfield talking about the absurd amount of money thrown away to make that Pirelli tires viral video starring John Malkovich and Naomi Campbell. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you drop what you’re doing and watch it. If you’d ever wondered what ten million dollars looked like when it’s taken out into a field and set ablaze, here’s your chance. Garfield’s Ad Age story tears the whole thing to shreds, as well as other pointless advertising waste. It’s a terrific read. Lots of fun. Here’s a bit:

Not to pick on American brands. As will be abundantly clear next month in Cannes, foreign advertisers are serially clueless, too. A vivid recent example is Pirelli, the tire concern, which wants to make its product seem sexy and dangerous. God bless you, signori, you’ve embraced the Internet, which suggests a good strategy. Then you attempted to do BMW films one better, which is not a strategy at all. Neither is opening your checkbook to sign John Malkovich, Naomi Campbell and director Antoine Fuqua. As for the premise of a Vatican priest being awakened to go exorcise an automobile, well that isn’t an idea, it’s a punchline: “The Omen” meets “Knight Rider” with maybe just a hint of “Emanuelle at the Vatican.” To view it is to wonder, in a way never intended by Leo Burnett, what the devil is going on.

The only thing that stands out in this film, apart from Naomi Campbell’s nipples, is a sense of pathetic self-delusion. The idea that this link would be forwarded around the world to countless prospective tire purchasers is wishful thinking on a hallucinatory scale. And if you think we’re being unkind, go online and read the viewer comments so far.