Have you seen the Times spots where fisheyed faces peer into a newsbox and consider whether to drag out a copy of the paper? Advertising Age reviewer Bob Garfield has, and he's less than impressed. The whole concept is doomed, he writes: "Designed to fail, essentially offering no reason to take the Times except for its spruced-up graphics, which the commercial barely shows."
The spot is done from the point of view of a newspaper vending machine, as seven diverse but uniformly uninteresting Angelinos approach it to peer in. Maybe they're peering in to see one of the suddenly sensationalistic headlines, or maybe to steal a peek at a photo or to ogle the new layout. It's unclear. What's clear is that, for 25 of 30 seconds, the focus of the ad, through a wide-angle lens that makes everyone look unattractive, is not the L.A. Times but them.
And, uh, who cares about them?
Nobody. By the time the product shot comes on -- with the onscreen type about the "Fresh. New. Look." (we hope they punctuate better in the actual newspaper) -- we're averting our eyes from the fish-eye view of humanity. If anyone does hang around to see the payoff, they may observe that only one of the seven actually stuffs quarters in to buy a paper.
Yes, the commercial shows six curious faces sizing up the paper and deciding not to buy. Only number seven, the oldest of the lot, plunks down her coins. Wait, I get it: truth in advertising! You can view the spot at Ad Age's site.