Creative Roundtable: From a Tease to ZZZZZs
The sleep-deprived will ultimately find Select Comfort's campaign a snooze. Maybe that's the idea?
The solution for most of us who don't get enough sleep is simple: We consume copious amounts of coffee, soda and energy drinks. Some of us even pop caffeine pills or suck on caffeinated mints.
Given the ever-growing number of pick-me-ups out there, what's next? Caffeinated cereal? Stimulant-infused energy sausage? Toothpaste loaded with caffeine?
Actually, these products are available via "Wakey'z Drug Mall" at Wakeyz.com, an e-commerce site selling all sorts of hyper-caffeinated, narcotic-laced products.
Okay, so the myriad products aren't for real, but still serve as a reminder of our reliance on stimulants to stay awake when, in fact, there is a better solution: we could get a good night's sleep with the help of Select Comfort's Sleep Number bed.
Durham, North Carolina-based McKinney created and built the colorful Wakeyz.com site. In addition to offering a wealth of wacky fake products (when you attempt to buy one, the joke is revealed and you are directed to SelectComfort.com), the site offers Wakeyz.com T-shirts for sale via CafePress.com and downloadable Wakeyz.com icons. Visitors can also submit their own ideas for products, which could be featured on the site.
Traffic is driven to Wakeyz.com by banner ads highlighting one of its roster of products for the sleep-deprived.
Since going live this summer, Wakeyz.com has generated overwhelmingly positive blog buzz from those who have discovered the site through the banner ads advertising the fake products.
We gathered a trio of digital experts - Tribal DDB's Steve Nesle, Arnold Worldwide's John Fischetti and MRM Worldwide's Greg Kaplan - to ask what they make of Wakeyz.com. Meeting over coffee (what else?) in Manhattan's East Village, they shared their thoughts on whether the site was a success or a snoozefest.
OMMA: Let's start with your first impressions as we arrive at Wakeyz.com, where we see a purple teddy bear's head blow up, revealing a bloodshot eye, then a page touting the fake products.
Nesle: [Laughing] I have no idea what's going on.
OMMA: Is it a problem that Wakeyz.com is not more obviously branded as a Select Comfort site?
Nesle: Well, the risk that you run is your average visitor isn't as patient as the creative team is.
Fischetti: You're asking a lot of a consumer to sift through this and be entertained by it. Everyone likes a humorous diversion, but a mattress is a fairly high-priced, fairly involved purchase, and you want to do a lot of investigating - like reading other people's reviews. So I don't think you truly need something like this, although I do find it amusing. The writing is great, and the depth of the products is cool.
Kaplan: I really like the [opening] animation. It is nicely done, and I like the sound design. All the products are beautifully designed. It's just very rich visually. But I had no idea what it was for at first.
OMMA: Would you give the creators of this site credit for taking a fresh approach in what isn't necessarily known as an innovative category in terms of advertising?
Nesle: Yes, definitely, and as a marketer, I appreciate what they're trying to do here. But when I put my customer hat on, it seems like a whole lot of work in the wrong area. I would prefer to be figuring out how your mattress is going to make my sleep more comfortable.
Fischetti: They're clearly trying to shake it up. They have a unique product, and they're trying to differentiate themselves, which they are definitely doing with this. But I think they could have gone with a creative idea that would get more lead generation.
OMMA: You do ultimately find links to the Select Comfort site, which promotes the Sleep Number bed, when you click to buy one of these fake products and are let in on the joke. On SelectComfort.com, you can find your sleep number, browse the beds and read testimonials.
Kaplan: Whoever did this Wakeyz.com site should get their hands on the Select Comfort site. It is totally depressing after you've had this kind of fun on Wakyez.com to go to the Select Comfort site - it is just a complete letdown.
OMMA: Why? And would you have wanted more of a link or a meshing between the outrageous Wakeyz.com site and the more straightforward Select Comfort site?
Kaplan: Yes. You need some kind of continuity when you go on to the next site, and there just isn't any here. Wakeyz.com is such a departure, and I think the consumer is in one frame of mind when they're looking at this - it's lighthearted, and you've got their attention, and you've engaged them. Then you're taking them onto this boring site, and I think you're going to lose a lot of people.
OMMA: The Wakeyz.com site offers a lot of content, with fake products in multiple categories, including Food 'n Drink, Bath 'n Beauty and Household. Is the amount of content too little, too much or just right?
Nesle: They could accomplish the same thing with a lot less content - it's a cute joke that carries on too long.
Fischetti: In a banner ad, it's a great joke. This could be a smaller page to bridge you into the [Select Comfort] site.
OMMA: How would you rate the Wakeyz.com concept overall?
Kaplan: I loved the overall concept of it - in a world where we're trying to jack ourselves up on caffeine more and more and more, maybe we're not doing the right thing. Maybe sleep is what we need. Creatively, the whole thing was very interesting and on point.
Fischetti: We're in this weird situation right now with the Internet because we feel like you don't have to do something so aligned with your TV and print campaigns - you can go wacky and strange and different. But you can't. You have to keep it aligned with your brand goals and with what you're trying to do overall, and this is kind of out there. It takes you so far away from the brand. You have to stick with the overall messaging of the brand.
Nesle: I agree. I think we're emerging out of the need to trick people into spending time with the brand. There's some great writing in here, and there are some moments of humor, but I think, overall, the site seems to be working really hard on the wrong thing. The most interesting thing about this brand is the sleep number, and I'd rather spend time trying to figure out what my sleep number is.