A new ad campaign for “relaxing drink” Zenonade, which apparently turns consumers into laid back sociopaths, opens with a flight attendant wishing death upon all her flight’s passengers.
“I’m going to be the first to leave this plane, and you’re all going to die,” she thinks aloud with a maniacal grin. “Dead. Dead. Dead.”
Disturbing — particularly to tentative flyers? Yes. A relevant product message? We hope not. Controversial? Not as much as the spot’s ad agency wished it had been.
Martin Lochmann, CEO of the Lowe and Partners agency in Prague, seemed disappointed that the commercial hadn’t really incited the outcry he had expected. “I expected it to be worse,” he told the Huffington Post.
And that encapsulates one of the major problems with the ethos of modern advertising. Sometimes agencies go into an ad campaign with the specific goal of drumming up some controversy. Making the daytime talk show circuit for shocking the general public is a godsend for free media.
But often it’s the ads that aim to shock that fall flat.
Maybe Lochmann can blame bad timing. The ad premiered last week, when consumers were still reeling from Mountain Dew’s “racist” and misogynist ad in which a goat unapologetically beats a waitress and then intimidates her out of testifying during a police lineup. The week before, Hyundai pulled an ad in which a man attempts suicide via his car’s exhaust fumes but fails due to the new vehicle’s 100% water emissions.
Now those were offensive. And it appears that the companies that made them had no idea. It was just poor judgement. Compared to that, Zenonade’s message seems kind of “meh.”
Without an avalanche of outraged people watching the ad, we are left with a spot that doesn’t really explain the beverage. Except that it might turns its drinkers into psychos.
This is the Zenonade ad starring the flight attendant:
Here’s another spot:
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