Surely you are familiar with Jawbone, the makers of the excellent noise-canceling Bluetooth headsets for mobile phones. The product really is amazing. I love mine.
But I don’t love their attempt at creating buzz.
I’d rate the first video PG-13.
Two women are sitting in a pub having a casual conversation when a rugby team storms the pub, making a huge ruckus. The production quality is good, and you feel for them. Their conversation is clearly over in all this noise, then the phone rings and one woman picks up her Jawbone.
Of course, the noise is gone and she’s able to begin a conversation.
Message sent. Jawbone plain works.
But that wasn’t enough.
Two of the rugby players begin to kiss. Well, not just kiss, but make out. They take off their shirts and really go for it.
Like the the Snickers kiss ad, this video exploited sexual orientation for shock factor or laughs.
There are so many other things they could have done. A brawl could have broken out–chairs and bodies could have flown over the woman’s head. They could have broken into song. A leprechaun could have walked in and done a jig on the table. Whatever.
Instead of creativity, they chose exploitation.
I’d rate the next video R:
An agitated man walks into an Asian dry cleaner and proceeds to rant about the amount of starch in his shirts. Racial slurs, stereotypes and f-bombs fly.
Then a man ‘in the peanut gallery’ gets a phone call, and since he’s using his Jawbone, the noise is gone. He closes his eyes and enjoys the peace of hearing his call and nothing more.
Once again, message sent. Jawbone works.
But that wasn’t enough, either.
The jackass gets his comeuppance when the family puts a bag over his head and then brutally beats him to death. Oh, wait, he dies of suffocation. There’s no sound, except for the man on his call.
I don’t have virgin ears and I’ve dropped an f-bomb or two in my life. But this video is incredibly insensitive, offensive and violent.
Instead of creativity, they chose cheap racial slurs and Quentin Tarantino-calibre violence.
There are other ads, but it’s really more of the same:
In Hot Girl Gets Wet, a girl relaxing by the pool is interrupted by three loudmouth guys trying to impress her. They jump in, and lo and behold, Jaws Redux.
Wait Staff Eliminates Noise features a rowdy Russian mobster being drowned in his soup by restaurant employees.
The Jawbone brand is creating buzz all on its own. They have major distribution and are considered by many to be the best Bluetooth headset you can buy.
They didn’t need to resort to exploitational or offensive virals. With minor tweaks, they could have had videos that were immensely entertaining without casting Jawbone as a callous, bigoted and desperate startup.
Put it another way. Can you imagine Apple doing virals like this? Or Red Bull? Or Pepsi? No way.
I noticed jawbonefilms.com is now routed to the company homepage. Maybe they’ve come to the same conclusion.
These videos have been rated well on YouTube so apparently some people like what they are seeing.
So do you love this campaign or hate it?
Comment below to weigh in.