21 Aug

Parody: go the whole hog

A fairly quick easy-Friday-reading post… if you’re going to parody anything in your advertising (whether a campaign of a one-off), make sure that people definitely know it’s a parody.

I watched a film, last weekend, called Kingsman: The Secret Service (don’t judge – it was no-brainer, Sunday watching), and there was one thing that bothered me all the way through it: was it a parody of the spy film genre, or was it – in part – a serious film?
There were cute little lines from the baddie (Samuel L. Jackson) about ‘now you’re supposed to end with a bad pun’ (when his character was dying), and Colin Firth seemed to be doing a send-up of himself/the quintessential English gent … but underneath all that was the sad story of the main character’s harsh upbringing, and how he was a ‘bad boy made good’.
In the end, I just couldn’t tell if I was supposed to take the whole thing seriously or not.

It’s the same with these silly BT adverts that are out: they’re trying really hard to parody adland, the creative process, the atmosphere on set when a TV ad is produced… but they’re also trying to (not quite seamlessly) slip in sales messages, and it doesn’t quite work. It’s trying too hard.

This beauty, from Marmite, is a great example of pure parody. It’s a complete p*ss-take of those daytime animal rescue programmes on TV. It’s clearly a parody, with no attempt to be serious, and it works.

If you’re going to parody something/someone, you need to go the whole hog – don’t leave an audience in any doubt as to whether to take you seriously or not. In fact, hyperbolise. Ham up elements of that which you’re parodying. Remember the Fast Show? Aim for that.

When parodying, there are no half measures. Go for it.

You know what? I’ll leave you with the smooth, charming, irrepressibly sleazy Swiss Toni. Enjoy:

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