THE camera zooms in on a pitchman straight out of the 1970s, complete with bad hair, a turtleneck and a medallion on a chain, then presents viewers with every clichéd scene from direct-response advertising, including shots of waves crashing on a beach as product titles scroll up the TV screen.
But wait, there’s more! The titles listed are not for songs from a compilation of greatest hits by the Captain and Tennille. They are for online games like Pong, Crazy Taxi and Defender. The commercial is a direct-response spot for GameTap, an Internet game network owned by the Turner Broadcasting System of Time Warner, that spoofs direct-response advertising.
“That’s the irony of it,” said David Reid, GameTap’s vice president for marketing. “It gave us both an opportunity to have fun with a commercial on the one hand, but on the other hand, to deliver on a sales message.”
Straight direct-response pitches hardly ever work anymore, and increasingly agencies have turned to spoofing their own industry to attract viewers long enough to deliver a new message.