Monday, January 31, 2011

Truth In Advertising

This is one of the most bizarre ads ever.

For those who don't want to, or can't, watch it here's the synopsis: A bunch of guys do a "persistence hunt" of some barefoot Kenyan runner [correction, they give him sleeping pills. Wasn't paying particularly close attention until I read about the ad.]. When he finally collapses, they tie sneakers on to his feet, to his horror.

The ad is for a defunct (I wonder why?) shoe retailer, Just for Feet, and from what I've read, not far from the truth.

My thought when I first watched this was:

"It's pretty honest, actually. The only way to get these shoes on a proper barefoot runner is to chase them to exaustion and put them on while they're passed out.

"It's the only way they'd get me to wear some Nikes."
Of course Barefoot Ted nailed it:

"This ad is about what happened to ALL of us."
Full thread here.  Thanks, Sean.

P.S.  Morbid curiosity got the better of me, and I did a bit of research into this.  Turns out that this ad is considered "the worst Super Bowl ad ever made", or "the ad from hell":

"Just For Feet had hoped the commercial would launch it on the national stage as a growing, family-owned, friendly company. The company had never done a national ad buy before and went to the big guns for its inaugural effort.

"The company filed for bankruptcy later that year. THAT’S how bad the ad was!

"Just For Feet sued Saatchi for $10 million, claiming that its executives had strong-armed the company into signing off on an initial version of the ad by telling them it was edgy and clever and people expected that of Super Bowl ads. Just For Feet execs said they were wholly unfamiliar with how to play on such a huge stage and believed Saatchi knew best."

Kind of sad. Just For Feet achieved a form of immortality, all for an ad that may have looked bad, but really wasn't.