Link: Spot 1, 2, 3, 4
Target: Over-stressed North Americans
This campaign’s centerpiece is four spots, each of which document ‘Bahamaventions’ – interventions by the family and friends of the overstressed. A vacation to the Bahamas is the therapeutic answer to each of these situations. The four protagonists are Lyle – an overloud executive, Monte – a grim-faced family man, Malcolm – a skinny, pasty white guy and Maureen – a tightly wound wife.
The best feature of this new campaign is that it focuses not on the “Where?” of travel or the “How?” but the “Why?” Instead of just seeing pristine beaches (which all look the same in advertising), Fallon carefully lays out the argument for going on vacation in the first place. A pasty complexion, high stress levels, the tendency to snap and a grim demeanor are all good signs of someone who needs a vacation. These spots work by methodically and comically laying out the ‘before’ using living caricatures of these symptoms. Then we get the solution – a Bahamas vacation. The end benefit is the relief of the symptoms we’ve seen at the front end of the spot. There is a social rationale behind this as well as Americans on average fail to use 4 vacation days a year (up from three) and increasingly identify ‘life balance’ as a key missing element in the modern workplace.
The second element in this campaign is the use of humor to engage the audience. This advertising blog is often critical of humorous campaigns because they distract from the brand or overwhelm the value proposition of the advertising. Here, though, the humor is nicely tuned to make the point that vacation is a necessity rather than a luxury.
Finally, the ‘hook’ to this commercial from the branding standpoint is the ‘Bahamavention.’ This is memorable and intuitive. It makes the campaign ownable. The ‘reason why’ points (700+ islands, multiple types of vacations) work better because it is not difficult to tie the advertising back to the brand because of this coined term.We cannot predict whether, as Fallon Creative Director Todd Riddle hopes, ‘Bahamavention’ will make it into the cultural vocabulary the way other Fallon campaigns have (most memorably the “I’m not a doctor but I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night” line). But either way we believe this campaign will help the Bahamas and prove to be a landmark for other destinations looking to build brand identities.
This campaign attempts to own a generic end benefit. It is a risky undertaking. We understand that stress and depression are rampant, but is the Bahamas the only cure? Or even the first cure we’ll remember? It all depends on the viral strength of the Bahamavention concept. If the concept doesn’t take – meaning we never hear Jay Leno or David Letterman crack a joke about a politician needing a Bahamavention – then Fallon should seek to narrow the brand positioning. They can instead say that Bahamavention may not be the only cure for stress but it is a unique cure, and then explain why. This campaign also depends upon the carefully managed execution of humorous creative which can sometimes create problems down the line.
Branding Bottom Line:
We think Michael Richards needs a Bahamavention.