Monday, August 10, 2009

Did Wet N' Wild Confuse Big Budget With Professional Production (1st Local Ad Review!)?

Look, I don't want to be too hard on local ads; there's no way that they'll measure up to high-profile pieces from national campaigns in terms of production value, creativity, and ambition. But what I can do is make sure that a core message is present and that that message is executed with sensible direction.

In this spot by Co Creative Studios for the grand opening of Hawaii Wet 'n' Wild (used to be Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park), the point is to be informational and intriguing. There is a new waterpark in town...and his name is; guess I can't throw in a 48 Hours reference. The idea is obviously fine: people in Hawaii (not sure why the people on Ni'ihau need to know) should be aware of something fun to do during the summer, especially since a lot of residents were unaware of the change in title. Starting off like a 1960's PSA, the piece dives right in with crane shots, POV shots, and well-lit photogenic glory; the thing is bursting with energy. The music sort of sounds like techno with Down Syndrome. All the individuals at the park seem to be having a fun time in the sun and from that point of view the spot works perfectly.

But this is Ads Honorem and it's time to bring the pain. One of my major beefs with this production is its lack of understanding of its target audience. It feels like they're going after the 12-25 crowd made up of local residents. Look, people from Hawaii are used to getting either loud Mainland ads or subdued Local ads neither of which kill. This piece is the former; and worse yet pretty much everybody featured is haole. C'mon, when you have a little bit of a budget, get some bruddahs and sistahs on da water slides; it's called building rapport. By the end we go from a fun-filled family time to a shitty Abercrombie and Fitch shoot. Also, get your damn website up; if you're changing to such a special name, give the people a reason to see it in their heads.

Overall, it's a good spot with energy. It accomplishes much of what it sets out to do in a fairly homogeneous fashion. However, you don't need to look picture perfect. Amusement parks sell well when they're on either the uniquely absurd extreme or the highly relateable one. Something you don't want to do is trade in your local-sounding name for a mainland-sounding name and estrange the masses that could keep you in business.

A big time "Aloooooo-haaaaaaa" to Co Creative and Wet 'n' Wild for making this ad review possible. Hopefully, there are many more to come (that I can actually embed).

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