The Ad Biz Under Glass

I only caught the last 20 minutes of Trust Me, the show on TNT, but I was impressed by what I heard.

Mason was giving a nuanced discussion of a campaign idea.  What a nice change, I thought, from the usual approach.  You know, the one that treats the ad biz as a domain of scoundrels and the home of dumb discourse.  

But what really caught my attention is that the brand at issue is Dove.  Not a pretend brand but the real thing. 

So this is a case of product placement.  But instead of the usual, "oh, look, that characters using our product" we get something vastly more interesting and perhaps even revolutionary. 

In effect, Dove is putting its meaning manufacture under glass.  Or a facsimile thereof.  It is giving the consumer the opportunity to go "behind the scenes" and see the kind of creative work out of which Dove marketing and advertising comes.  How very risky and how wonderful. 

But it certainly suits the new mood of marketing, the one that leans more and more in the direction of full disclosure.  And we can imagine having access to a website that allows us to look in on real footage of real creatives as they really put together the current campaign. 

Consumers are now so very media savvy, we can rest assured they would not take this in the wrong spirit.  No, I think we can rely upon them, "Oh, so that's what you were thinking.  I wouldn't have done it that way.  Still…"  At the very least we could have the director's cut of the ad complete with Voice Over commentary, the sort of thing we get on DVDs. 

We want a participatory, engaged consumer?  This is an option we should explore.

Hat's off to Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny, creators of Trust Me.  The TNT website tells us that Baldwin and Coveny who have a combined total of over 20 years of experience in the advertising world having worked for J. Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago

6 thoughts on “The Ad Biz Under Glass”

  1. Here’s a great NYT article where Coveny discusses integrating Dove into the show. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/business/media/22adco.html?ref=media

    I’ve been developing a repository of product placement occurrences and Trust Me is definitely on my list of shows to include. Sarah Connor and Dollhouse are included in the Flickr set because of their respective integrations of Dodge and Dell products. Here’s the link to the set if you’re interested: http://www.flickr.com/photos/gladiolabean/sets/72157608662032973/

  2. Grant…I think the ket point is…we want to be branded this way…well now a company has to pull back the curtain and make us look at that brand is beating in their heart. You can wear layers of clothing that say you are a dancer all you want… you can wear tights and a cod piece…and layers of sweats but until not only we see you dance… but actually training to be a dancer… you don’t get to so easily be called a dancer… …anymore. What my team is learning as we do product placement and build interactivity that includes purchase activation for said products …what you hit on sums up a biproduct I did not see coming… bringing a product into the storytelling process…and it’s corporate entities onto a level playing field of how to incorporate the story… has brought our camera people and our storytellers further into their…”dance hall”

  3. The problem is (having just watched the first two episodes) that absolutely nobody in Trust Me justfies the title. Mad Men has the distinct advantage of presenting the half-remembered world of the early 60s through the lens of a profoundly relevant social time capsule. Trust Me, conversely depicts a contemporary environment where cutthroat competition and smarmy, fawning lizards fabricate sticky taglines that might someday develop into last week’s buzzwords.
    “Do Thumbthing” is no more engaging than “Be Thumbody”, and the zen of one-handed texting is as devil-may-care as wireless hitching, which relied on the kindness of strangers; a mode of transportation that lost all appeal near the end of the 60s and the rise of self-centered, backstabbing, vapid Yuptiles…which describes pretty much everbody I’ve seen in 97 minutes of Trust Me.
    Their there is here&now, but there’s very very little little there there.

  4. The Dove bit is the one interesting thing I’ve seen thus far in the series. I like both the leads so I’ve hung in there…but…their characters, particularly “Ed”(I loved that sweet, gentle show)act like three-year-olds. He can be counted on to throw a self-absorbed tantrum that endangers everyone at least once a show. And – why oh why, with the exception of Mason’s wife, are the women character so shrieky, bitchy and downright unstable? (Monica Potter is probably a wonderful woman in real life…but she seems to be typecast in the neurotic, uptight roles.)

    Lastly – the two guys may know advertising, but they’re a bit behind the times. One episode, Mason was astounded he got a WHOLE 30 emails. This while working on a “texting” account. Nary a mention of social media (other than reading a teenage daughter’s Facebook page and worrying she only has three friends). And – yikes – war images (toy soldiers) really “nail” selling an energy drink?

    I’m anxiously awaiting the return of Mad Men. Nuanced characters and entertaining.

  5. I actually was very dissappointed with this show. I prefer the stylized Mad Men, it allows the show to get into the underbelly of advertising more by placing it in the past. Trust me just feels to safe. What makes it interesting for those who don’t work in advertising?

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