Half.com and BBDO/New York Say No to Nerds

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The new back-to-school Half.com print and webfilm campaign, aimed at the college crowd, is based on a revealing insight. The campaign is called "The Many Perils of Over-studying," but the insight, of course, isn't that students don't want to study—that's a no-brainer. "We had to find a relevant way to tell the 'save money on books' story that would seem fresh," BBDO/New York ECD Greg Hahn explains. "The key insight into this market is that when college students are given half off of something, like pizza or videogames, they usually consume twice as much. We thought it would be interesting to apply that thinking to learning. Choosing the cautionary tale approach seemed like a natural way to talk about overconsumption." Speaking of which, beyond its reputation as a superstore for discounted textbooks, Half.com, an eBay company, also sells CDs. DVDs. videogames, game consoles, and books in just about every genre, so there are plenty of nonacademic distractions—but no pizza.

Besides a series of coupon ad/comics placed in the comics sections of some 140 college newspapers, animated webfilms, directed by Curious Pictures-repped Rohitash Rao and Abraham Spear, aka Ugly Pictures, are seen on sites like YouTube, iFilm and College Humor.com. The films feature VOs in a '50s mock-doc PSA mode. "The ominous yet nostalgic tone of the Atomic Era education films was a great starting point for the style of the creative," says design director Craig Duffney, whose BBDO design department, established last year as part of an initiative to expand the agency's creative service offerings across a broader spectrum, according to BBDO, worked closely with the creatives on this effort.

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