Views from the Hills by R. E. Stevens, GENESIS II (The Second Beginning) E-Mail

Common Sense - Confirmation Follow-up

Right after writing the Views titled "A Little Common Sense Goes a Long Way - Right Along with Confirmation," I saw three new commercials.  One commercial is for Minute Maid Orange Juice, another for Kellogg's Crispix and the third is for Swiffer.  A central part of the theme of the first two is about locking someone in a room.

In the case of Minute Maid, a twin boy is featured drinking orange juice.  He likes it so much that he locks his twin brother in the bedroom and after drinking his orange juice, he leaves the room and returns acting as the other twin to drink his orange juice, too.  Nice commercial.  It gets the point across.  However, it clearly shows the second twin locked in his room with the use of a chair propped against the door on the outside of the room.  The real problem is that the door opens into the bedroom, not out.

In the Kellogg's Crispix commercial, two children are tying their father to the bed, evidently so he cannot get to the kitchen to eat their cereal.  When they go to the door of the bedroom, they could not get out.  The mother had wedged a chair against the outside of the door so that they could not get out and she could eat their cereal.  Again you guessed it, the chair is on the outside of the door that swings in.  I wonder if the two companies have the same Ad Agency?

In the third commercial, you have to again look quickly.  A man puts Swiffer sheets on the feet of a group of ballerinas.  In the first and third shots of the ballerinas, they have the Swiffer sheets on their feet.  Not so in the second shot.  I know it is petty, but really it is only a 15-second commercial, can't we get it right?

These three examples remind me of my favorite goof.  In 1997, it may have been 1996, James River was introducing New Quilted Northern Toilet Tissue.  In the introduction, they had three women sitting around a quilt frame, quilting with knitting needles.

The producers of these commercials seem to be as sharp as the back side of a thumb tack.  I wondered if they had actually done any consumer evaluation of the finished cuts.  A friend at Kellogg's assured me that they did in fact do focus groups with the finished product.  He even quoted numbers.  It seems that in their case, the focus of the responses dealt with safety, locking a person in a room and also tying someone to the bed.  It surprises me that there were not some ecology comments in the list.  It has been my experience that focus groups are really good at the "Motherhood, God and Country" types of problems but somehow lack a technical perspective.  My protocol preference is for in-depth one-on-ones.  Actually the above problems probably would have been identified if the sponsoring company had shown the commercials to some of their employees outside of the advertising department.

All in all, three of the four commercials were good, entertaining and to the point.  The Swiffer still leaves me wondering what they were trying to convey.  Still a little more of confirmation research could have eliminated a distraction.

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