What audience, exactly, is Cars.com targeting with their latest spot?
Wife: And I didn't have to resort to Plan B.
We are only at 10 seconds (1/3 of the way through the spot), and you are already done telling me anything about your product. Not one more second of this commercial is useful to consumers or relevant to marketing Cars.com.
Salesman: Oh, what's Plan B?
Wife: In order to get you to agree to my terms quickly, I was going to have you eat these brownies which I mixed with horse laxative.
Um, what? Weren't we just talking about comparing car prices? Then I see skeevy looking food and hear the word "laxative" preceded by the word "horse." First of all, why did they go to extreme gross-out measures with a cheap laxative joke? Secondly, why does it have to be horse laxative? Regular human laxative wouldn't do the trick?
Let me just point something out: How old is this couple? They look to be around mid to late 30's, possibly early 40's. That's about the target age range for Cars.com, I'd guess. Now, remind me, who laughs at jokes about laxatives? Oh yeah, not 40 year-olds. I bet this commercial went over great with the pre-Driver's license audience.
Husband: (stomach grumbles, brownie crumbs reveal themselves on chin) Excuse me.
Sweet! Bonus diarrhea jokes! Thank you to the Farrelly brothers for writing this ad.
Wife: My husband kinda has a sweet tooth.
The comedic double whammy! Not only did you dump horse laxative in there, but you let your husband eat it! Woohoo! This is the payoff line to which all future payoff lines will be compared..... if it were funny at all.
If you just took the first 10 seconds of this commercial, here's what you'd have: A straightforward selling message of the benefits of Cars.com without the stomach-churning shit jokes and lowest-common-denominator humor. But you would also have a boring ad. I guess the question for companies that can't come up with a good, original commercial is: Is it better to possibly bore your customers, or to make them want to throw up? Unfortunately, Cars.com seems to know where they want to go.