I’ve never been a fan of commercials that don’t say the name of the brand being advertised out loud. More often than not, these ads are developed by people who would rather be making movies or TV shows and want to minimize the commercial aspects of their wondrous creations. My feeling is, if you’re ashamed to be doing advertising, you shouldn’t be doing advertising.
To have a prayer of being successful with an ad that doesn’t mention the brand, you had better have very high-impact audio and video. The latest campaign from Howard Johnson has neither. The video consists of Mr. Bill-like animation, which evokes–to me, at least–notions of a cheap flea-and-cockroach-infested hotel room. And the audio consists largely of an unappealing song whose sole lyrics are, “Happy…yeah!” I’d probably heard this annoying commercial at least a dozen times over the past several weeks without having a clue as to what was being advertised. It was so bad I finally decided to pay attention just so I could see which advertiser was tormenting me.
I’m pretty sure this campaign isn’t going to make Howard Johnson’s target audience, or its shareholders, very happy.