Aug 6, 2007

Really Mad Men

In order to sell their clients' product, a breakfast cereal aimed at kids, a team at an ad agency came up with the idea of creating their own animated series. The videos, which are available in four 5-minute segments, are about a new superhero, and while kids may take it at face value, it offers a great big wink to those adults watching along, with sly jokes and parodies built in.

Three other animated shorts are included with the superhero videos, with preroll and postroll spots after each one touting the clients product.

The videos are very successful and prove to be viral, as kids tell other kids about them and more and more people watch.

As a result, the account guy, who was one of the writers of the series, leaves the agency to start his own animation production company, which outsources the actual drawing to Mexico, thus realizing considerable cost savings.

Another interweb success story?

No.

A success story from the Mad Men era: 1960, to be exact. The superhero was Underdog, the agency was Dancer, Fitzgerald, Sample (now Saatchi), the account guy was W. Watts Biggers and you can read about it here.

3 comments:

HighJive said...

did you take the tadpoles to see underdog on the weekend? the movie was not released for reviews in my area, which is often an indication that it sucks.

was it not standard procedure in the past for adpeople to create content to surround the ads? that's how they invented soap operas and radio programs, right?

funny how it's come full circle. except now ad agencies can't figure out how to bill for content, falling back on simply creating the ads.

at this point, even underdog can't save us.

Toad said...

HJ: We did indeed see Underdog. I actually thought it was pretty good (for a kids movie) and the tadpoles seemed to really dig it.

There's a post in there somewhere about how critics are such poor indicators when it comes to kids movies. Ratatouille was a critical smash but it's lost on kids: French haute cuisine? Being true to your art? Just not concepts that a 10 year old can wrap their head around.

As for soap operas and the like, I'd always thought that the ad people came up with the idea for the show, but that someone else wrote it/produced it. With Underdog, it seems that they- the creative team and the account guy- wrote and produced the whole thing themselves.

HighJive said...

yes, you're probably right about the content of programs being created by others, not the adpeople.

although i never recalled underdog hawking products. or was it enough for his show to simply be surrounded by not-totally-related cereal spots?

must have also been thinking about the geico caveman and his upcoming tv series, which i think is being produced with input from the adpeople.