Brand: Paris Hilton
Execution: Web Video
Target: The celebrity-obsessed
Reviewer: David Vinjamuri
Paris Hilton today posted a video response to a Presidential campaign ad for Senator John McCain.Â The McCain ad ad, aired last week and compared Senator Barack Obama to Paris Hilton and pop star Britney Spears.Â The ad called Obama “the biggest celebrity in the world,” while displaying images of Obama in German, Hilton and Spears in an attempt to paint Obama as a celebrity rather than a true leader.Â In the video response sponsored by Funny or Die, we see the same images of Obama in Germany, but the voiceover speaks insted of John McCain as the “oldest celebrity in the world – like super-old” and asks the same question – “Is he ready to lead?”Â Then we see Paris Hilton in a skimpy swimsuit mocking both herself and McCain while declaring her own candidacy for President and then putting forward a surprising cogent energy proposal.
Paris Hilton has an extraordinary sense of timing and a finely tuned radar for PR opportunities.Â By taking advantage of a brief media flap over her unlikely connection to Barack Obama, Hilton has guaranteed herself another full news cycle and millions of earned media impressions on national news shows.Â I found myself unwittingly part of this kerfuffle on Fox Business News this afternoon when an anchor brought up the ad following a discussion we were having about Whole Foods earnings.Â After seeing the entire video, I had to agree that Paris Hilton got it exactly right, down to sounding well-schooled on policy when she moved off of the issue of “where to get the best tan.”The lesson for conventional brands here is to be agile.Â Without Paris Hilton’s ability to respond to the McCain ad in just seven days, the opportunity for free PR would have been lost.Â Most brands would find it impossible to craft and approve a clever spot in such a short time, let alone filming it.Â But the benefits of taking advantage of opportunities like this are significant.Â Witness the benefit Mentos yielded from the Mentos/Coke videos and how Coca-Cola failed to capitalize quickly enough.
This advertising blog thinks the Paris Hilton response is entirely good for her brand, but it’s worth looking for a moment at the McCain ad for a moment.Â Besides the unintended invitation for a smackdown by Paris Hilton, McCain violates important precepts of advertising in his campaign spot.Â Attack ads are meant to put memorable images into the minds of voters.Â Michael Dukakis was damaged by attack ads with graphic images of him looking very un-presidential in a tank among others.McCain’s ad has the opposite effect for Barack Obama.Â It shows him addressing 250,000 people within sight of the Brandenburg gate in Berlin where the Berlin Wall stood.Â While the language is meant to tear Obama down, the images make him look more presidential.Â Which is not the point of competitive advertising at all.
Branding Bottom Line:
Forget President of the United States.Â Paris Hilton ought to be running for CMO of General Motors.