If you’re one of the last 30 or so people that still watch traditional broadcast, you’ll have probably noticed Asda’s new advert in which alleged ‘superfan’ Sunny is so enamored with Asda that he decides to make his own commercial and revive the classic Asda price ‘pocket tap’ in the process.
You won’t have to look far across the internet and social media to see that the ad has gone down like a lead balloon with viewers calling it cringey, unfunny or outright annoying:
— Taylor Monk (@TaylorMonk91) September 6, 2020
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that’s caused people to have such an adverse reaction to the ad. Cheesy lines and overly corporate sentimentality rarely wins a crowd over, but they aren’t exactly uncommon in advertising. I think much like my neighbour’s music choices, it just comes down to bad taste.
We’ve already seen the ‘real people with real opinions’ routine a million times in the advertising world. Most notably Chevrolets recent campaign which received similar wide-spread criticism because the ‘real’ people were obviously actors.
Spencer Kornhaber, a journalist for The Atlantic, wrote on the campaign: “Using ordinary folks to counter viewer skepticism towards advertising, it seems, can trigger even greater skepticism.”
Similarly, with a little digging it turns out Sunny is actually actor and DJ Muzz Khan who’s featured in television shows like Black Mirror. But we already knew Sunny wasn’t real – instinctively everyone does, and that’s Asda’s problem.
No matter how much Asda would like us to believe that every day people care enough about global supermarket chains to create their own commercials, that’s not how life generally works. I think if Asda had used the opportunity to be the least bit self-deprecating or knowing – perhaps leaning into the overly sentimental love this man has for Asda with a more sarcastic edge – they could have pulled it off. Or as crazy as it sounds, if you’re really looking to generate goodwill towards your brand you could always use real people with real opinions.
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