Has a recent genre of internet commercials had its day? The buzz around the current Skittle’s ad suggests otherwise.
Drama critics call it the Fourth Wall, the invisible barrier between actors and audience, allowing us to suspend our disbelief. The current internet equivalent is the Youtube takeover, the buzziest one of the moment being Skittles Touch: Cat. “I feel slightly violated,” wrote one poster on Youtube, getting into the spirit of the ad spot’s dumb humour.
Some posters have suggested that the Youtube takeover has had its day, that it’s a ‘fake’ interactive, as in this spot for Schick razors. Yet it has an attention-grabbing, fast-paced immediacy. It plays with expectations. At the very least it shows how a smaller brand such as Schick can take on bigger-spending celebrity-endorsed brands such as Gillette, with a bright idea and smart use of images. Big brands make the rules, to get buzz, smaller brands need to break them.
Ultimately the Youtube takeover is fake, it is about a ‘fake’ touchscreen effect, it’s not a smartphone. But that’s the joke. It’s a bit cheesy. Old. A bit like the old sniff ‘n’ scratch cinema cards. It’s why it’s funny. What’s really telling is how fast a new technology such as youtube generates its own nostalgia.