Product: Smart Forfour
Title: Smart Forfour. Real car, real life.
Ad agency: Get Smart
First impression: The Blair Witch Project meets human Teletubbies with terrible Cantonese dubbing.
Idea/storyline: 'a striking personality ... for all the lives you lead.' The idea is that the Smart Forfour is the ultimate compact car for modern city living, combining elements usually associated with large family sedans. In three short ads, Smart wanted to show the Forfours' versatility.
In the ad titled Lovers, a young woman thinks she has run over a hedgehog, and when her boyfriend suggests it might be dead, her temper flares. When her boyfriend asks to take the wheel she retorts: 'Why don't you get out?'
The second ad, Vacation, features a group of friends going on holiday. They take a group photo before setting off, then the driver leaves the camera behind in the car. He returns and someone in the car shouts: 'Have you left your brain behind too?'
In the third ad, Sleeping, a guy plays a prank on his napping friend by moving his face up and down with the car window.
The first ad aims to convey that the car is safe, the second that it is spacious and the third that the new model has a great interior and fittings.
What the ad man/client says: a spokesman for Mercedes-Benz says, 'With Smart Forfour, we wanted to convey the unique functionality of the car, and the real, emotional, everyday lifestyle benefits it gives its driver. We tried to develop a look and feel for all of the ads that showed off the unique personality of the ForFour. We wanted to show the Forfour offers all the benefits of larger family cars and is ideal for Hong Kong.'
Does it work? The wit and humour is somewhat lost in the translation. Also, what's the point of having outdoor scenes with studio dubbing? The stroppy woman in the Lovers clip sounds awful when dubbed in Cantonese. Sleeping is the best of the bunch because it is amusing and was not dubbed over.
But ... the raw, shaky handheld camcorder look is good and gives the ads a sense of realism.