Thursday, August 25, 2005

Housewives’ Hit

Don't diss the power of pop culture. I recently participated in creating a direct mail campaign that turned ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” into “Desperate Households.”

Like most advertising trends, everybody’s doing it. Stuart Elliott wrote in his New York Times column yesterday that advertisers and agencies seeking endorsers for campaigns are making belles of the ball of the actresses appearing on the hit ABC series "Desperate Housewives," which is to return for a second season on Sept. 25. Almost every cast member is in an ad, some for more than one marketer, in a rush reminiscent of the ardor to use the actors from other popular shows like "Friends" and "Sex and the City."

(Forgive the absence of attribution quotes – there are too many of them; click to read the whole column – you can register for free access.)

Read the article, and you’ll see that other advertisers are doing related takes on the idea. This ain’t new, Magoo. How many of you had a client who absolutely had to have something related to “The Force be with you” in a sales program or campaign? For those of you that are old enough, “Patton” was a big, big hit on the sales meeting circuit, with the CEO appearing in uniform like George C. Scott in the movie – on top of a platform to boot.

A neat parody appears in the movie “Dave,” when Kevin Kline, playing a common man who happens to look like the President of the United States, makes a ‘celebrity appearance’ at a car dealership, riding into camera on the back of a pig.

It’s okay. That’s what pop culture is for. Give the pop icon a fresh spin, and it helps make connections that would (as Elliott point out in his column) take too much time to explain otherwise. More important, pop culture is a powerful force that can magnify the reach and impact of creative messages.

Use this power only for good. Or outright laughter.

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