An idea that can hold water? Or one that is all wet? In order to evaluate the effectiveness of this spot, let's consider the Epinions.com mission. As the tag line states, Epinions is "a place where real people write reviews on products and services."
When I'm looking for consumer advice, I'm looking for the answers to those nagging questions that pop into my head. What are the features? What can I expect as far as performance and durability? How does this product compare to competitive models? Did I shut the coffee maker off when I left the house this morning? Ok, so maybe the average consumer is not quite as neurotic as I am.
Let's say I'm buying… oh, I don't know… how 'bout a tent? I can walk into any camping outfitter and browse through their wares. I can crawl into a floor model and determine if it's roomy enough to fit my needs. I can inspect a boxed tent to get a feel for its weight and packed size. I can make a decision as to whether or not it meets my ideals of tent aesthetics. (Hey, if I'm gonna have to rough it, at least I want to rough it in style.) Perhaps, if I'm fortunate, I may be able to get a salesperson to demonstrate the ease (I would hope) of erecting the tent of my dreams (although service like this is probably just a fantasy). And, I can easily make a decision as to whether the object of my desire is within my budget.
What I'm not going to learn is how the tent will perform out in the elements. Sure a salesperson will give you an opinion (possibly biased). An advertisement will give you an opinion (most definitely biased). Where can you turn for the missing piece of the decision-making puzzle? The best source of information is someone who has actually used the product in question. Someone who has seen it perform in "the best of times" and in "the worst of times". Someone who can tell you if the tent will perform as well in a "winter of despair" as it does during a "spring of hope". Epinions.com ushers in the "age of wisdom" for those prone to random acts of foolishness, by providing the answers for the decision-impaired. Answers given by people fortunate or unfortunate enough to have learned them on their own.
That's Epinions.com in a nutshell. The concept that has just taken you several minutes of your valuable time to read (thank you for bearing with me) is wonderfully illustrated through the "tent" spot in a matter of seconds. Sure it's a bit of a stretch, but it portrays consumer field testing in action. Joe Camper (aka Rick) literally puts his tent through the wringer to give you his unbiased evaluation.
The spot is clever, visually interesting (alternating between the reality inside the tent and the surreal situation outside) and humorous. The repetition of the Epinions name at the end aids viewer recall of what is likely an unknown entity. And, unlike much of the advertising that is in vogue today, the commercial actually gives the audience a sense of what the advertised service is about. Imagine that?
By the way, does anyone know if Epinions sprung for the hot wax?
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