The Pathetic Self-Delusion of Pirelli's Naomi Campbell Spot

Watch the 10-Minute Horror of a Tire Ad

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To: Advertisers of the World
From: The AdReview Staff

For the past 10 years, you have been flapping your lips about demanding a measurable return on investment for your marketing dollars. In that vein, we have a modest proposal: Send us your money.

Really stupid
All of it. Here. For starters, we have certain financial needs ourselves, such as high energy bills and some unfunded tuition liability. But also, we're sure your dollars would be more wisely spent by ceding all authority to AdReview. Because you guys -- anyway, a lot of you -- are really stupid.

We don't mean to be unpleasant, and we hope this isn't some sort of journalistic breach of ethics, but if you'd just give us all your money, we wouldn't let you squander it so badly. Let's address Coca-Cola USA for a moment. There you were, on the cusp of connecting with audiences for the first time in a decade with some very promising stuff from Wieden & Kennedy, and you chose to ruin -- R-U-I-N -- it with all the insipid old happy talk. Yo, Atlanta, you're running a syrup company, not a religion. Meanwhile, on the flip side, in Europe you fall in the thrall of avant garde "creatives" and let Mother spend a fortune on a spot that has everything to do with art direction and not one fizzing thing to do with beverages. It'll no doubt win a Cannes Lion. But it won't sell a can of Coke.

Dumb Chevrolet
Or Chevrolet. You're dumb, too. No need to add injury to insult by reviewing your 30-year market-share slide, but for crying out loud. You have a value tradition going for you, and Americana going for you and OnStar going for you. All you need to do to fix your brand -- even with your cost disadvantage -- is build a stylish, very slightly retro, well-equipped family sedan at a price, and then repeat "All-American Value" till you are blue in the face. Not revolution, not heartbeats. "All-American Value" -- because it will be true, duh. (Do not call it a Lumina.) Special bonus for other GM divisions: Buick = affordable luxury. Pontiac = performance. Hummer = here's your penis extension, jackass.

Not to pick on American brands. As will be abundantly clear next month in Cannes, foreign advertisers are serially clueless, too. A vivid recent example is Pirelli, the tire concern, which wants to make its product seem sexy and dangerous. God bless you, signori, you've embraced the Internet, which suggests a good strategy. Then you attempted to do BMW films one better, which is not a strategy at all. Neither is opening your checkbook to sign John Malkovich, Naomi Campbell and director Antoine Fuqua. As for the premise of a Vatican priest being awakened to go exorcise an automobile, well that isn't an idea, it's a punchline: "The Omen" meets "Knight Rider" with maybe just a hint of "Emanuelle at the Vatican." To view it is to wonder, in a way never intended by Leo Burnett, what the devil is going on.

Pirelli's pathetic self-delusion
The only thing that stands out in this film, apart from Naomi Campbell's nipples, is a sense of pathetic self-delusion. The idea that this link would be forwarded around the world to countless prospective tire purchasers is wishful thinking on a hallucinatory scale. And if you think we're being unkind, go online and read the viewer comments so far.

The tragedy is, this pitiful situation never would have materialized if we held the purse strings. So please, advertisers, send us all your money. We'll handle it from there.

Review: One star
Ad: Pirelli
Agency: Leo Burnett, Italy
Location: Milan