Ad Review – World’s Toughest Job (M)

16 Apr

Campaign: “World’s Toughest Job”

Campaign Theme in Haiku Format:

Hidden camera
Viral video has a
Surprise twist ending

Visual

Commentary

How long did it take you to figure it out?  How far into the 4 minute, six second video were you when you realized what the job truly was?  For me, it took about 20-30 seconds.  The premise of interviewing for the job of “mom” and referring to the child as “the associate” is rather clever, but it wasn’t exactly an impossible riddle.

This leads to my initial criticism:  who are these people?  Look:  if you are interviewing for a position called “Director of Operations”, I would hope you’d be smart enough to know you’re being had one or two questions into the interview.  If you need to ask if a 24/7 workweek  is “even legal”, that should be your first clue that you are either really under-qualified for an executive job or you are an actor playing the role of a shocked applicant.

As I’ve talked about in past Ad Reviews, I find myself very skeptical of commercials that employ “hidden camera” antics presumably showing everyday folks.  Years and years of reality TV have left me suspicious of any reaction that is presented to me as “real”.  I’m not saying these people weren’t legitimately fooled, but I’ll just as easily believe they were actors demonstrating versions of their “shocked” face into a web cam.

Now, let’s focus on the positives.

First and foremost: everybody loves Mom*.  Hopefully this is a non-negotiable truth.  

*Especially me.  I love you, Mom.  You are truly the best. 

I like the matter-of-fact way the interviewer describes the job requirements of being a mom.  A sampling of my favorites:

  • “Constantly on your feet…high level of stamina” for “135 hours to unlimited hours a week – it’s basically 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
  • “There are no breaks available.”
  • “You can have lunch, but only when the associate is done eating their lunch.”
  • “Requires excellent negotiation and interpersonal skills.”
  • “Degree in medicine, finance, and the culinary arts.”
  • “Able to work in a chaotic environment.”
  • “If you had a life, we’d ask you to sort of give that life up”
  • “No Vacations…On holidays, the workload is going to go up, and we demand that – with a happy disposition.”
  • “No time to sleep.”

And, of course, the kicker:  it pays “absolutely nothing”.

Those lines, delivered to perfection by the faux interviewer, are a big part of why this video has gone viral.  We all know that mom works hard, but sometimes you really need to see it in terms like this to really appreciate it.

 

Then throw in the reveal when the interviewer tells the applicants what they apparently had not figured out on their own:  Director of Operations is a fancy term for mom.  Cue the outpouring of love and appreciation and pass the tissues because it is getting dusty in here.

But…

The version of the video I watched must have omitted the part where the Director of Operations is standalone position with no assistance from the Vice Director of Administrative Duties (DAD).  Maybe this video is all about the single moms – and seriously, can we get some special recognition for the single moms?  Those women are amazing.  However, I’m pretty sure Director of Operations applicants can be married as well as single.

So what about dad?  Can’t he at least get a mention here?  Look:  I consider myself to be an average to above-average dad, and I feel like I’m doing a lot of these things each and every day.  I wear many of the same hats my wife does, including some she does not (director of grounds maintenance, pest exterminator, waste management engineer, in addition to my responsibilities running the morning shift at the home office), but to hear this video tell it, there are zero expectations on me.  Heck, instead of getting dinner ready, bathing the oldest two, and helping out with bedtime I apparently should have been sitting on the couch watching the ball game with a beer.  Or maybe there will be another version of this video in the weeks leading up to Father’s Day.  But I’m not going to hold my breath.

I’m not trying to take anything away from the hard work put in by my wife or any other married mom out there, but every dad I know plays an active (if not equal) role in the “mom duties” listed above.  The era of the 1950’s TV dad is long gone.  All I’m saying is it would be nice to at least get a mention.

From an advertising perspective, I’m skeptical as to how successful this video will be.  As quickly as you probably figured out that the job listing is for a mom, it probably took a much longer time to figure out whose products/services we are supposed to buy*.  

*My first guess on the identity of the advertiser was Proctor & Gamble, who have done an excellent job of  branding themselves as the “proud supporter of moms” through their series of tear-jerker Olympic ads.

In the 4:06 video, the first clue (a URL for www.cardstore.com) doesn’t come on the screen until the 3:55 mark.  But who the heck is cardstore.com?  Some shady website where I create an e-card that ends up snagged in mom’s spam filter?  It’s only at the 4:01 mark that we find out who the real advertiser is:  American Greetings.

In my opinion, this delayed reveal creates two big issues:

1) How many people close the video before the company name is revealed?  Probably more than you think.  The only reason I stuck around was to find out who the advertiser was, but I’m guessing the majority of viewers don’t share my curiosity for these sorts of things.  This is a great example of the old advertising axiom:  It doesn’t matter how great your commercial is if nobody knows about your product.

2) When I read the closing line (“This Mother’s Day, you might want to make her a card”), I definitely do not think of American Greetings.  I think of arts and crafts time with the kids.  Truth be told, on my first viewing, I read “Mother’s Day” and “card” and immediately thought of Hallmark.  I’m guessing that is not what the folks at American Greetings were hoping for.

Overall, this is an amusing video that will likely inspire as many tears as it does views (5.1 million as of this writing).  As a dad, it makes me a little defensive, but I don’t suspect there are too many moms who don’t like it.  Yet, I question how much of an uptick in traffic / sales American Greetings  and cardstore.com will see from it.

Grade:  B-

*   *   *

(Author’s note:  Wondering why there is a random letter in parentheses in the title of this post?  Not sure how this post corresponds to the daily letter in the April A to Z Challenge?  Like clicking on links?  These questions are all answered here.)

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