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A Live, Improvised Ad to Air
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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Combine a mystery brand, a comedy improv group, and airtime, and what do you get?

A three-minute-long spot to air on Comedy Central on June 17 at 9:10pm.

The improv group, Mischief Theatre, will use the talents of four of its members to perform an ad about the product. But there is a catch — according to our source the group will only find out about the product during the live shoot. 

The agency behind booking Mischief Theatre and creating this campaign is 18 Feet & Rising, and it is being directed by Tantrum.

The live spot, once done, will be turned into 20-sec spots that will run throughout the rest of the year. As long as it's good, we'd think. This concept of a live ad is not new, but it isn't popular either. The source article brings up that Virgin Media did live ads in 2011 to promote its concert series, and Honda pulled off a live ad featuring a 19-man stunt team that spelled "Honda" while flying through the air, towards Earth. This was for its "Difficult is Worth Doing" campaign.

A live ad can be very risky; for if the past couple of big-time shows can attest, anything can happen. Though a nip-slip or profanity slip is unlikely, and these improv comedians seem well seasoned, a slip up or freeze could prove to be dramatic. As far as we know, we have no idea what the brand is, and what product is being put on display. Immediately one would think it deals with thinking quickly on your feet, being witty, and staying cool under pressure. Some kind of domestic product, like a deodorant or makeup, comes to mind. Or if it is more aligned with quick decision-making, it could be a search engine, or some results-based service provider.

Whatever the brand may be, it is definitely going to be interesting.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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