Unlike most people, I enjoy watching commercials. Why? Well, I write my fair share of advertising copy, so I consider TV time “research time.” (Do not judge me.)
So what does this little revelation have to do with something called Garmin? I’ve seen this Garmin holiday ad no fewer than four times, and at the end of each viewing, I still had no clue what Garmin did. So, I went to Google and learned that Garmin develops/manufactures technologies for GPS. I then rewatched Garmin’s commercials (here’s the first version). The words–the actual ad copy–are revised lyrics to a holiday song: “Carol of the Bells.”
Clever, you might think, except for this one little problem: I never understood the words until I sat at my computer and really listened (straining some ear muscles in the process). The holiday tune is too overpowering, and the words just warp and warble, making no sense (part of the problem is the speed, I think–the lyrics go by way too fast…with 30-second spots, every word matters and if I’m straining to even understand the words, well). Yes, the commercial caught my attention, and I have the damn instrumental version of the song stuck in my head.
But don’t forget this important fact: I was trying to figure out what the commercial was for the first time I watched it. And the second time. And the third time. And the fourth. (A shame, considering my mom asked for a GPS system this holiday season.) Most people won’t try so hard.
Takeaway: clever is fine as long as clever includes an even more important C word: clarity.