Sponsored posts are all over my Facebook feed lately. I saw a thirteen second Chrysler promo this morning that had me laughing. It featured comic actress Kathryn Hahn rocking out to The Scorpions’ “Rock You Like A Hurricane” while appearing to try to re-create Tawny Kitaen’s performance on the hood of a Jaguar from Whitesnake’s 1987 video “Here I Go Again”.
If you remember the 80’s at all, you remember the sultry Kitaen rolling around on the hood of that car. It was an iconic performance. So this funny bit that recalled that video, with the infectious heart pumping riff from The Scorpions, was hilarious to me when I saw it, and on repeat watching, it’s still funny.
The goal of the promo is to spark interest in watching the full ad on the Chrysler YouTube channel. The spot on YouTube is just over a minute long and features much of what is shown in the shorter promo clip. The full YouTube ad is shown below.
The promo has many strengths. The most important is the use of zeitgeist with the target market, which is middle-aged parents who are likely to remember the 80s to some degree and can relate to wanting to re-live the hair band riffs they remember. The zeitgeist also has a modern flavor since classic rock has had a resurgence over the past decade as a new generation of fans has come to enjoy much of it.
The promo is funny, which is not easy to pull off. The choice of Kathryn Hahn pays off here as she’s experienced and fun. Of all the spots she does for Chrysler, this one is the funniest in my opinion. The humor in trying to climb onto the hood of a minivan is funny by itself.
The composition is not half and not quite symmetric, though Ms. Hahn accomplishes poses that stretch both not-half and thirds composition, which lends more strength to the appearance of the promo.
Another strength is the music. It’s an exciting, upbeat and a widely known Scorpions song from the 80s hair band era. It features a heavy, driving beat and a blistering guitar riff with soaring lead guitar. It’s easy to let this music “take over”.
Not everyone remembers the 80s or the famous performance on the hood of the Jaguar in the Whitesnake video from 1987. This means the humor won’t be as meaningful for younger viewers or folks who are not fans of 80s classic rock.
The ad is not particularly colorful. The minivan is black, which is cool, but the outfit Ms. Hahn wears is not very colorful and feels a bit drab. This can be strategic, as the human expression is an important part of the performance, and colorful wardrobe could distract the viewer from some important comedic visual cues so this could be intentional, but a bit more colorful makeup can compensate for more color in her costume.
Another reason for the muted colors could be the visual strategy for featuring the vehicle visually and for not getting in the way of that presentation. Since the vehicle is all black, that lends to muted decisions elsewhere. If the car color were anything else, the ad would be better.
As it is, the palette is all the same and the garage in the background, the costume for Ms. Hahn, and the reflections on the car create an analogous palette that’s pleasing but doesn’t draw much attention to what is being sold. A car with just a bit more color would have been a better choice.
Naturally, I think this is a great promo. I don’t think the lack of color is too much of an issue to get in the way of the funny presentation. The promo certainly pulled me in and I watched several spots on the YouTube channel.
Boyd, what a fun ad! I also remember the ’80s and am very familiar with the song. I never watched music videos back then, so I am missing out on all that context, but the white text overlay they have going on with the Facebook ad immediately clued me in to what the song was without even hearing the music. I agree that a little more color would be a good thing to capture attention, but I also think that the dark color of the car is what makes the white text overlay so effective. I was also intrigued enough to watch the full length video, and it was great. There was just enough humor to keep you entertained and watching, and the small tidbits they shared about the great features of the car are slipped in so sparingly that you are more receptive to them. Overall, very effective. Great choice to analyze, thanks for sharing!
I love this ad. I watched is a couple times and went to YouTube for the full length, as you suggested. Even though I was in my 20s in the 80s and remember hair bands, I was not familiar with the Kitaen reference. However, I do remember Jessica Simpson washing a car and others how have rolled around on hoods–which I have usually found degrading to women. This I found hysterical. You are right, Hahn was perfect casting for the part. I did not object to her wearing muted colors of jeans and cream sweater. The cream color pops out on the black and having her dressed in sneakers, jeans and a sweater made her more relatable to me–like every mom coming home from running errands. Which also makes it work for me, because honestly, who hasn’t turned up an 80s song and rocked out to it? (Maybe not on the hood, but certainly with hair whips and air guitar). It truly makes me feel like Chrysler gets me. I am going to share this spot with some friends who will also love and relate to it, which is exactly what a sponsored ad hopes to do–generate engagement.
I like that the way they framed some of the shots, Hahn’s hands or feet fall out of frame–it brings us up close to the action and makes me feel I am almost part of it. Lastly, I like the ending tag “It’s loaded with attitude.”
I’m glad you picked it. Big fun. Tanja
You have a great analysis here. I do not remember the 80s, but still laughed at the ad. I like things that are funny and this was good. I think that targeting to the right people would definitely boost success in it causing people to act on it. I think the weaknesses that you pointed out are good opportunities for us to learn as we prepare ads for our own brands these next few weeks. Thanks for sharing this awesome ad and helping me learn from it.