Brand: Universal Orlando Theme Park
Link: Click Here – this link is to Ad-Rag which requires a small fee to view ads
Target: The overemployed
A series of happy funeral directors commend the U.S. workforce for work-a-holic tendencies. They say, “We’d like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the American workforce. Their unparalleled work ethic demonstrates you have what it takes – to drive yourselves into the ground. In fact, those who don’t take vacations are 20% more likely to face an early demise. Yet still you persevere. And if you keep working yourselves to death, just know we’ll be here for you.” The spot ends with title screens saying “Have a life. Take back your vacation,” and then a quick montage of shots from Universal Orlando with the universalorlando.com web address.
This spot is the culmination of an unusual campaign that featured absolutely no branding in the first several spots. These were focused on the benefits to corporations and pharmaceutical companies of workaholic employees who did not take their vacations. Those spots ended with only a reference to a website: http://www.iwantmyvacation.com/ a so-called “vacation advocacy” site which features quantitative information on the vacation-deprivation of Americans as well as online games and offers from Universal Orlando.
These spots are very effective category-builders for the leisure travel industry. They use humor effectively to lampoon our obsessive work habits and the site does a good job of putting this into a global perspective (which is a bit chilling). By focusing on the core positioning of “vacation is healthy for you,” these spots elevate the benefit of vacation from relaxation and enjoyment to something more fundamental – a longer, healthier life.
The reviewed spot that actually features Universal branding is the best of the bunch. The funeral director angle is inspired, taking an admittedly cheap shot at a group which probably won’t fight back while brilliantly making the bigger point that life has an expiration date and it must be lived while it is still fresh. It is a very unique approach to advertising in this category and gains in memorability much of what it loses in brank linkage.
The big question with these spots is whether they will function as either good viral marketing or (with this last spot) effective television advertising for Universal Orlando. In the first three spots, that question is almost entirely predicated on the number of people who go to the special website. That number is typically only a fraction of the overall television viewership, so the effect may be limited.
The second question becomes how much of the curiousity generated by the first several spots is satisfied in this last spot when the identity of Universal Orlando as the advertiser is finally revealed. The cumulative effect of the earlier spots could result in this final spot having much better brand recall than one would otherwise suspect from the very brief Universal Orlando logo exposure at the end of the spot.
If these spots do not increase awareness of Universal Orlando, it does not mean that they are not good advertising (this is one of the rare occassions you will hear us say this). The real question is whether these spost are good brand advertising for Universal Orlando or effective category advertising for the leisure travel industry.
We suspect that the larger benefit will be to the category rather than the brand which begs the question – why should Universal go it alone on this campaign? This advertising would be an excellent candidate for industry group treatment, just like the California Milk Processing Board’s ‘Got Milk’ campaign which benefits all milk producers.
The rewards of this type of industry-wide cooperation would be significant not just for Universal Orlando but for other vacation destinations as well as cruises, car-rental agencies and airlines. With a blockbuster budget beyond the means of Universal alone, this campaign could have a much greater effect on the industry.
There is also no reason that this campaign would need to follow the ‘Got Milk’ model. The campaign could be constructed as co-op advertising, allowing for more consumer segmentation and tie-ins. For instance, Universal Orlando could pay for spots targeting audiences highly likely to go to theme parks while Disney could re-brand the last few seconds of spots targeting families and Carnivale or Club Med could go after singles. The spots could feature targeted, limited time offers intended to move consumers to action.
A minor concern we have with this commercial is the possibility that Universal might be seen as taking a cheap shot at funeral directors. Corporations and pharmaceutical companies in particular are fair game, but in this post “Six Feet Under” era there may be more sympathy for funeral directors who are perceived to run family-owned businesses.
Branding Bottom Line:
Universal Orlando does the category – and our lifestyle – a favor.