Friday, May 18, 2007

The New Starburst Ads

Have you seen this? Maybe not. If you have and were like me, it just left you confused. It introduces a new character they invented to promote new Starburst Berries & Cream. It has nothing to do with anything product related, just an absurd character with no connection to reality. It's actually really funny, but funny/strange instead of funny/smart.

Here is the ad they show on tv. (This blog will make more sense if you watch the video clips in order). Funny, but strange. But on YouTube and making the viral rounds is a longer clip that shows the backstory. The character is still weird, but now the story of the ad makes a little more sense.

The strange thing is that they aren't showing the back-story in the ads, relying on word-of-mouth to get the story across. I guess Starburst is hoping to draw in fewer, more dedicated brand loyalists that get the joke, rather than a mass marketing campaign to a wider full audience. It's an interesting case study. Consumers must seek out the answers to advertising rather than having the message given to them on a silver platter.

This has been done before (sort of), mostly by car companies that show a 30 second movie and then direct you to their website to get the rest of the story. But this is different in that the ads aren't the introduction but the second chapter of the story.

It's definitely a bold move. Not sure what agency is behind it, but I'm guessing they did some heavy-duty research to see if this strategy holds any water. Will it work? Who knows. The more important question is whether this kind of campaign, where consumers are in the dark and must seek out answers, will work. It worked for Lost, so maybe...

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