RiDQlous indeed

I knew it was going to happen.  Once the Old Spice ads caught on (and became more than tired), it was just a matter of time before we saw ads that had the same sort of feel, but with disastrous results.  The absolute champion on this disastrous nature has to be the Dairy Queen (DQ) ads featuring the guy with the mustache.  Every time one of these commercials come on, they just make me cringe (and think how once the weather gets nice, how I will find somewhere else to go for a treat).

The thing about these ads that I can’t stand is that they just try too hard…and you can feel it.  Whereas the Old Spice ads started from an intentionally over the top character that Isaiah Mustafa created and ran by a few of his friends, the DQ ads are trying to be ridiculous, with a clear effort to try to go viral.  I mean “old fashioned shaving bunnies?”   It’s pathetic.

The difference between the Old Spice ads and the DQ ads reminds me of back in middle school when a kid would do something unintentionally funny; something that would make everyone laugh and buy that kid some cred in the schoolyard.  Eventually he would wear it out, but people would still like him because they would reminisce about back when he did that funny thing.  That kid is essentially the Old Spice guy.  But then you have some marginal kid who sees this Old Spice kid getting all the laughs and so he thinks, “Hey, I could do something like that.  I could be just as funny in a similar way, but still in a way that wouldn’t make it look like I was copying the Old Spice kid.”  So he comes up with some lame act that he thinks is brilliant, but in the end nobody likes and results in him getting his ass royally kicked at recess.

Successful marketing campaigns are going to be copied in some way and sometimes it can be done in an effective manner.  Who knows who really started doing funny beer commercials first, but if you take a look at the funny Bud Light commercials, the Coors Light commercials and then the recent (and brilliant) Heineken commercial, they all work in their own way while accessing the central theme of men being men via a connection to a specific brand of beer.

So the question needs to be asked, “If the DQ ads had come along a few years ago before the Old Spice ads, would they bother you as much?”  Well yes, they would still bother me, but probably not quite as much.  There’s nothing worse than some forced comedy and that’s pretty much what this is.  It’s forced comedy disguised as advertising.  It makes me want to change the channel…which pretty much is the exact opposite of what they are looking for, but even worse than that, it just creates a negative association with the brand for me and that’s worse.


  1. avatar Wendy B Says:

    Remember when The Matrix made bullet time cool and then every movie, including the sequels had to copy or try to one up it?

    The problem usually has to do with out of touch execs who see something that works and therefore makes money. They then figure out there’s some finite window of time (that is actually much shorter than they think) for them to milk it into oblivion.

  2. avatar Jay Says:

    It’s painful. Once somebody puts a term to it, like let’s “Mustafa-ize” it or “Old Spice It Up”, then it’s over. It’s just lazy and for the amount of money that is out there for intelligent marketing, we should all expect better.

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