Thursday, November 26, 2009

Actors posing as real people

When you see those testimonials on television, you assume they are real people. Unless the performances are plastic or way over the top, you make certain assumptions. Especially if the advertiser is someone as large as Microsoft. John Scott, a writer for the Advertising News, wrote a great piece about one of the more recent slay the dragon PC campaigns. The whole article is here And here is a brief blurb from it:

"Here’s the set-up: real people are given a thousand bucks to go buy a computer; they’re also told they can keep any money left over after the purchase. In the debut ad, an attractive redhead buys an out-of-date laptop PC and is delighted she still has a couple hundred bucks remaining. There’s been no follow-up to see if the actress is pleased to be associated with the words “dumb” and “cheap.”

I use the word “actress” because the commercial is a fake. It’s not a reality spot when you hire a member of the Screen Actors Guild and stage the “shopping” scenes. The actress is Lauren DeLong, who has appeared in “99 Pieces,” “Hatched,” and “Ladybugs.” She has also appeared under the name Lauren Penner when she played Head Nurse in “This Hollow Sacrament” and under the name Lauren Kuhn when she played Jacuzzi Girl in “7eventy 5ive.”

The funny thing is that she’s by far the best thing about the commercial. If the spot had been real, people might have liked to learn more about her and how she enjoyed her HP Laptop. But because everything was contrived, when a reporter contacted her she replied that she had signed a confidentiality agreement and would have to see if she was allowed to speak to the press."

No comment on this article from Microsoft. Coming up tomorrow on Creative Excellence Fridays, "fairy tale factories".

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