This ain’t Calcutta or Abuja or Port-au-Prince either. So what.
This Ain’t Flint is a campaign developed by Alphabet Creative for Newcap Radio ostensibly to remind the good folks of Ottawa, Canada to stop whining because things are really not that bad – compared to the economic hardship that Flint, Michigan has had to face. The Newcap radio group has put a lot of money and effort into a campaign that includes video, a website, transit ads, and other promotional activities.
We live in one of the best cities in one of the best countries in the world. We are privileged beyond any reasonable measure. I wish this campaign would go away. I’ve tried to ignore it and the discussion around it for the last couple of weeks. Problem is, it’s hard to ignore. I keep driving by “This Ain’t Flint” transit ads every day. So if I can’t will it away… the next best thing to do is to rate it. Here is how I would score this campaign:
Embarrassment. 10/10 They knocked it out of the park with embarrassment. I have friends and relatives in Michigan and I am ashamed to be associated (geographically) with this campaign. Read a couple US blogs to get a sense for how this campaign is been perceived south of the border. Ouch.
Harmfullness 8/10 . A bit more planning could have given the campaign a higher harm score. This campaign will probably affect tourism, trade or anything else with the good folks in Flint / Michigan / US … frankly anyone who needs a reason to dislike our Nation’s Capital. “Hey honey come here, Ottawa looks real nice compared to Flint… let’s go there this summer.” (Of course this isn’t the intent of the video and campaign… just the outcome.)
Confusion 5/10. Hard to rate this one. The message is absolutely clear (Ottawa isn’t as hard done by as Flint )- so I’d give this part a fail. But the purpose of the video is a mystery so I’d give the campaign folks full marks for confusion here. What’s the point? I don’t get it. The demonic baby, the strange video, the lack of an obvious audience, or purpose. They didn’t make it to get people to buy more radio ads so what was the purpose?
Creepiness. 10 / 10. The freaky doll was a masterstroke! Nothing picks up the spirits each day like the bus shelter image of a horror movie doll. Bravo!
Lack of Originality. 8 /10. Everyone knows that viral video is all about copying something that has already been done. Kudo’s to the ‘Roger and Me’ treatment in the first half of the video and the shockingly disjoint Ottawa Tourism video in the second half. Although ‘Freaky Doll’ has been done many times before (still a huge ‘Chucky’ fan), it hasn’t been done in conjunction with an ‘economic optimism’ video before so I had to knock a few marks off here.
Ballsiness. 9/10. You have to have Kahunas to launch this campaign knowing that uncreative, tree-hugging, left-wing sensitive types will find something to dislike about it. A change of heart – putting the video up on YouTube and then quickly removing it – cost the campaign a perfect score. (Why purposely avoid using the best free social media channel on the planet?) All comments are good comments right!