Advertising: The ‘I Love You, Man’ Advertising Campaign

I Love You, Man - HBO.com

Finding yourself with some spare time and looking to just sit and relax? Look no further. Turn on the T.V, switch to Netflix or plug in the DVD player and watch the bromance film ‘I Love You, Man’. If not for the script, the chemistry between actors, do it for the ridiculous and likely successful advertising campaign.

Being a theme rarely explored, here, bromance is on display.

‘I Love You, Man’ is probably one of my favourite films. Sandwiched somewhere between Reservoir Dogs and Almost Famous, this is a feel good film that anyone should enjoy.

However, beyond the great script and ridiculous chemistry between Paul Rudd and Jason Segal, comes something of a great advertising campaign, aimed to sell a house.

Some backstory, Rudd’s character is a real estate agent and trying to sell a mansion owned by Lou Ferrigno. He meets Segal’s character at an open house and they instantly hit it off. So being a friend and to help Peter (Rudd’s character) sell the house, Sydney (Segal’s character) implements an Out of Home (OOH) advertising campaign consisting of massive billboards along Santa Monica Boulevard.

BOOM, the scene is set.

“You put my face on a 10-foot dick over Santa Monica Boulevard.”
– Peter Klaven

So here are five reasons I believe the advertising campaign put in place by Sydney, would have not only worked, but would have struck a cord with the viewers.

Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica Boulevard – WEHOville.com

Prime Ad Location

OK, so fair enough, I haven’t been to Los Angeles since I was a child. Still, assuming that the film was correct in depicting the situation on Santa Monica Boulevard, the road gets traffic. A LOT of traffic.

In life, with the combination of ignorance and confidence, success is certain. Now apply this to advertising and the combination of a prime location and captive eyeballs, success is certain (thanks Mark Twain). This is what Sydney did in the film.

This is what I believe the state of a well placed advert in a busy street does… Not always, but a lot of the time. And given the reception from those make-believe people interested in buying Lou Ferrigno’s house, it was a success.

Pop Culture Relevancy

I’m new in the world of communications, only finishing my degree and joining the workforce less than a year ago. But still, I’m sure that for an advertising campaign, relevancy is the key. A toddler would know this (yet some people stay a bit too obscure).

Like I said, although I’m new to the industry, I imagine this is what those massive, pseudo-celebrity ad agencies go for. And why wouldn’t they? They want something that sticks in the mind, is relevant to current trends and opinions (note I’m not using the word ‘fad’) and uses pop culture to relate to audiences.

In ‘I Love You, Man’, it’s done exceptionally well. With references to James Bond, Ali G and many others, this particular advertising campaign would have struck a cord with multitudes of audiences.

I Love You, Man advertising campaign - License To Sell
I Love You, Man advertising campaign – License To Sell

Target Market

Following on from the last point, this campaign that Sydney commenced would have hit the mark. Using film, T.V and other pop culture references which would be understood by the target audience, in areas in which they can be found is clever… If not something that should be considered when researching the campaign market.

Yet with this particular set of ads, it was targeting people able to purchase houses in a high end market. And taking into account that LA is a ‘driving city’, targeting those driving into and out of the city is an effective, if not, a safe move.

A Sense of Humour That Likely Would Have Been Weeded out by Advertising Execs

Some ideas are brilliant and get made. But some ideas a brilliant and get broken down so much that it takes away from the actual idea. From reading articles in such digital publications like Mumbrella and others, it appears that in a modern agency, the latter can occur. Often more than the ad people would like to admit.

Because, for whatever reason. Whether it due to a lack of funding, an unconvincing pitch to the client, or a scared or unwilling client. Sometimes the best and most bold ideas, don’t come to fruition. Or worse, are put out halfheartedly and minced.

This didn’t happen for the campaign in the film.

Because the sense of humour and overall creative work that was produced only had to go through one pair of eyes, the idea was executed… as intended.

The idea that was executed was the type of humour that makes the individual laugh. Therefore, there was no mincing of words. Nothing taken out because someone didn’t “get it” or any other road block. For that reason, this was a factor of it’s success.

It had the ability to be honest and bold, therefore being easily accepted by the audience.

I Love You, Man advertising campaign
I Love You, Man advertising campaign

Call to Action

Lastly, it had a clear call to action.

In the film, you see that after the advertising campaign is released, both Peter’s phone and email is blowing up.

The ad’s had his name, number and email. So as far as I’m concerned, ‘nuf said.

In Summary

The campaign that was rolled out in the successful bro-comedy ‘I Love You, Man’ (which got 84% on Rotten Tomatoes and 3.5/4 on RogerEbert, did I mention that?) brought success to Peter, in the film. Even so, breaking it down, I believe that if rolled out for real, this simple campaign would still have garnered success. Ideally, selling Lou’s house and gaining Peter new clients.

So what did we learn? Well, probably not a lot.

Because at the end of the day, advertising is mostly about common sense. When placing an ad, firstly, know your audience and then place the ad where they’ll see it. Secondly, make the message relatable to them, accompanied by a clear call to action. And finally, try not to get your ideas minced!

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