CREATIVE STRATEGY: TNT exploits our love of commedia dell'arte
Slapstick. I love it. And yet it is a form of comedy that has been much misunderstood and often dismissed as "childish" or "simple".
TNT: 'push to add drama' campaign
A recent BBC documentary traced the history of slapstick from its late-medieval roots in commedia dell’arte through to the era of silent film and on to the likes of The Goodies.
One commentator made what I thought was a telling insight. Slapstick is essentially about survival. The man walks into a plank and falls over but, he gets up again – he has survived.
In the current economic climate, here, and across the Eurozone, many people will certainly be empathising with fellow human beings who can demonstrate the capacity to carry on despite all the odds.
So to me, it seems entirely appropriate that in 2012 slapstick should be adopted to promote a brand.
Have a look at this ...
TNT, a Turner Broadcasting channel, wanted to advertise their commitment to drama programmes. Usually in such cases, the media owner would simply show stills or clips from upcoming progs. Certainly that’s what Sky would do.
But TNT were more lateral. They planted a big red button in the middle of a dull Belgian square and a sign saying "push to add drama", then waited.
Anyone bold enough to have a go was treated to a bizarre and hilarious collage of live events featuring an ambulance, gangsters, a scantily clad girl on a motorbike and my favourite, some American football players.
Judging just from my friends' postings on Facebook, TNT’s film has gone round the world and delighted many thousands of people.
I think they deserve a big round of applause.
Simon S Kershaw is a creative consultant and a former creative director at Craik Jones
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