Some brands are better than others at viral video. Coca-Cola, for instance, has had numerous branded viral hits, as has Old Spice. But every once in a while, a brand comes along and displays a level of comedic execution that is completely unexpected. How many of you have ever considered Dirt Devil or Land Rover to be comedy masters? After this week, you just might.
Dirt Devil Exorcist
Dirt Devil is a vacuum manufacturer. Everyone knows that. What everyone didn't know—until this week, at least—is that they also have a wicked sense of humor.
Their new branded online video takes the classic horror film The Exorcist, and turns it on its ear. It's surprising and hilarious… and one of those rare instances where you actually do laugh out loud:
Playing on preexisting associations the audience has with other works is a great way to grab attention, and it puts the audience at ease. We may not know where this Exorcist look-alike is headed, but we still feel like we're on familiar ground.
Until the end of the ad, of course, which is where the humor comes in. Don't miss the fact that Dirt Devil incorporated the humor into their overall brand message: that their vacuums are more powerful than others. Genius.
Landrover's Pathological Liar
Not to be outdone by the vacuum company, Land Rover made a splash of their own with an equally hilarious spot called Pathological Liar:
Car commercials are typically pretty boring. We're so used to seeing the same closed driving course shots and Michael-Bay-inspired quick cut imagery that we're simply not moved by it as much as we used to be. That's why an automotive ad that veers off into a completely different direction is a welcome change of pace.
The theme of the spot is "You'll feel safe inside." And surely there are non-humorous ways to hammer that point home, like the standard car-industry tactic of showing us a vehicle narrowly escaping an accident. But again… that's not new. And it's not memorable.
But Pathological Liar definitely is… mostly by virtue of its humor, which comes from the actor's line readings as much as it does the ad concept. The result is a commercial that produces unexpected laughter, which is a known reliable trigger for viral sharing activity.