I was feeling lazy on another lazy spring afternoon. I had just finished watching “The Lazy Song” by Bruno Mars on YouTube. My kids love that song and the irony is that it’s actually pretty clever with a well-choreographed video. I’m not sure exactly why the monkeys are in there. Maybe to imply that Bruno “monkeys around” on his days off? What the monkeys do provide though is innocence. They don’t know any better. Instead of judging Bruno for being lazy, they’re just happy to be there, having a good time and eating things out of each other’s hair.
The next video I clicked on was a commercial for AT&T. It was one of many in their “It’s not complicated, faster is better” campaign. Not quite a universal human truth but OK, I’ll nod. It shows a man in a suit sitting with 4 kids and asking them simple questions like, “Is saving money better than not saving money?” and “Is being fast better than being slow?”
The kids are as funny as kids can be when you get them talking. They are answering questions correctly and incorrectly and saying funny things like “pickle roll” when they should be saying “pick and roll” when answering a basketball question. Much like the monkeys, the kids are there to get a point across––to play innocent, to play dumb. AT&T is telling the world that they are by far the best and even kids understand that (or don’t). It’s actually quite debatable whether AT&T is the fastest or the biggest. I’m sure Verizon would take issue. Either way, by using kids, the AT&T campaign is telling us adults that what they are saying is soooo simple, soooo obvious, and if we’re smarter than our kids, then we shouldn’t even think twice about it. So just sign on the dotted line.
Jimmy Fallon stars in a similar spot for Capital One where he’s trying to convince a sweet little baby that more cash is a good thing. And I’ll be darned, but that baby just will not agree. How silly!
A few years back, Ally Bank also used a similar construct using the tagline “Even kids know…” to highlight competitors’ hidden fees.
Whether using kids or monkeys, having an audience that doesn’t understand your value proposition is an easy way to get your point across. Instead of coming up with a smart or clever way to talk about features or benefits, just tell your audience that if they don’t buy what you’re selling, they’re dumb. Are using kids in commercials a trend? It’s always a fine line between trend and laziness.
“Today I don’t feel like doing anything.” I love that song.