The spot opens to a shot of an office clock as the voiceover says, “Around 3pm when your blood sugar and energy are low,” here we see an office worker falling asleep, “some say that Robert Goulet appears – and messes with your stuff,” here we see Robert Goulet sliding down a rope and messing with the stuff of the sleeping office drone. He then moves about the office, tap-dancing on a sleeping woman’s desk and taping another man into his Steelcase chair and wheeling him down the corridor. “But the natural energy in just one handful of Emerald Nuts,” the narrator continues as we see an alert young man standing in a break room, tossing a nut into his mouth, “is enough to keep Robert Goulet away. Until tomorrow anyway.” Suddenly, Goulet is spider walking back away from the office, clinging to the ceiling on all fours. The spot closes with a package shot of Emerald Nuts. The viral video (see link above for YouTube posting) is a moc-documentary version featuring interviews of the affected workers.
Emerald Nuts first broke out with a Super Bowl spot two years ago, expectations were high for their return in 2006. The spot that actually broke was bizarre, to say the least, featuring the tagline “Eagle-eyed Machete Enthusiasts Recognize A Little Druid Networking Under The Stairs” which spells out Emerald Nuts. (see our review here) We can safely say that the new Emerald Nuts Super Bowl spot is not the disaster that spot was. In fact, this spot is entertaining, cohesive and actually attempts to create a selling proposition for the product. The ‘Robert Goulet – office vandal’ angle is fresh and startling and it does grab the attention. It is also funny and well-executed. There is an attempt to brand Emerald Nuts with a verbal mention midway through the spot and the closing shot of the Emerald packaging.
This advertising blog is a fan of Bob Garfield (particularly his 2004 article ‘The Chaos Scenario’ which has been proven true by subsequent events), but his choice of this spot for four stars as the top pick of the Super Bowl illustrates a repeated problem we have with agency-side critiques of advertising. The question we should all be asking is whether this spot will build the Emerald Nuts brand and whether it will sell more nuts. Garfield suggests that giving office workers energy at 3pm is a brilliant new USP (unique selling proposition). We might agree if we had not been exposed to twenty years of Snickers advertising which has been focused on ‘pick-me up energy’ in office and other situations. So although we agree that the execution of this spot is inspired genius (and Robert Goulet’s dead-pan vandal is hysterically funny), we think the brand positioning is imitative and not ownable.
The second issue with this spot is that for the general, less ad-obsessed public, Robert Goulet may end up being far more memorable than Emerald Nuts as the brand associated with this commercial. Yes, that’s right, we did just say that Robert Goulet overwhelmed another brand in a commercial.
Emerald is still struggling to find out what is unique about the brand – or at least unique about nuts in general. Attempting to own an occasion makes more sense that a features-and-benefits pitch, but unfortunately Emerald chose a value proposition that Snickers already owns. Still, this is a much improved effort over the 2006 disaster.
Branding Bottom Line:
Emerald takes a big step forward but fails to deliver the nuts.