Napster Does The Math

From the looks of it, Napster put all their money in to the Super Bowl media buy. Their spot consisted primarily of camera card with two juxtaposed equations–probably not a good idea in a party atmosphere, since equations require concentration. At any rate, the “picture math” basically made the argument that iTunes is expensive and Napster is not.
Again, it’s the bad is good ad model. Good, because it breaks through the clutter and makes its point in a memorable way. Bad, because award show judges (and maybe some consumers) won’t like it. Not that that’s bad. I’m just defining terms.
Unlike the football game itself, judging ads is a totally subjective exercise. Career Builder’s “I’m done working with these monkeys” spots are funny for instance, but they’re also tired. Animal humor always is. To my mind, the blunt approach taken by Napster and GoDaddy, while lacking sophistication, is more effective in this particular mix because of its very roughness (lack of production values).



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.