Family - A Seattle Advertising Agency

Who Doesn’t Just Love Oblivious Characters?


New Fruit of the Loom Commercials are Worth Talking About...

A guy in a cow suit was bouncing up and down on a mattress.

His name was Dean, a dedicated standup comedian, who pounded out take after take while nailing his lines every time. My client was filming a local commercial. Technically, I was there to manage the soundstage. After shooting for about 15 minutes straight, the poor guy was panting. The director asked if there was anything else I would try. Dean was still bouncing on the mattress.

I said: “Yeah, why don’t we give ol’ Deano a quick breather.” The director instantly yelled “Cut.” And Dean just about collapsed from exhaustion.

Sometimes folks are oblivious to what’s going on around them. In real life, it could be tragic, hilarious… or just fatiguing. When they’re a character in your commercial, you get big laughs – a wonderful example being the latest work for Fruit of the Loom by CP+B Boulder.

Listening to her blather about her underwear could have been off-putting. But having the narrator carry the freight makes the audience focus on the painfully awkward reactions of the people around her. Smart construction.

There’s a great top and bottom to this spot, too. It sets up fast with the line, “You want to talk about it,” and bookends nicely with the lines, “So incredible you want to talk about it. Please don’t.”

The main character is truly flawed, and that’s what makes this spot funny. She’s oblivious to everyone’s reaction when she overshares. Don’t you just love people who are mercifully unburdened by self-awareness? They’ll say or do anything, no matter how awkward. There’s an old saying: comedy lies in the gap between how things are and how things ought to be. And this spot demonstrates how to exploit that gap for comedic effect.

In this commercial from the campaign, the agency uses the same formula. Sara and the bridesmaids are clearly not going to help the bride remove the gown from her head. They’re oblivious to the bride’s predicament because they’re all fixated on the underwear. They ignore her even after she begs them, “Guys… can you help me?”

The topper digs deep into the classic comedy handbag of tricks. Say the obvious thing. Say the thing that’s on everyone’s mind. Here, Sarah explains, “I don’t think you should get that dress. It doesn’t fit.”

The breathable underwear for men campaign dropped last year. In it, the marketing geniuses at Fruit of the Loom (and everyone else in the office except for the janitor) riffle through some of the worst names imaginable for their new skivvies. These people believe they’re blessed with the skills necessary to name things. And painfully, obviously, they are not. Being oblivious is funny.

The concept isn’t a completely original idea, but the silly names the writers come up with are laugh-out-loud (replay the spot a couple times to get them all) funny. Put in the work. Get the laughs.

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Mike Johnston is a production executive and advertising creative in Seattle. He is available for freelance consulting, writing and directing. Contact Mike

Want to know more about creating a humorous situation for your script? Read all about it.

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