Green Party candidate Ralph Nader--whose ad parody of MasterCard International's "Priceless'' campaign prompted a lawsuit--is using that tactic again in ads breaking Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. This time the inspiration is Monster.com's "When I Grow Up'' commercial, which broke during last year's Super Bowl.
The Nader campaign on Halloween unveiled a radio ad and TV ad from North Woods Advertising, Minneapolis, that parodies the jobs site commercial created by Mullen, Wenham, Mass. As in the Monster.com work, the Nader advertising features several children, filmed in b&w, voicing adult thoughts, but the thoughts refer to their governmental, rather than career, future. "When I grow up, I want the government to have the same problems it has today,'' says one child. Others intone: "I want to vote for the lesser of two evils.'' "I want to be lied to.'' "I want to be apathetic.'' "I want tax breaks for the very rich.''
The Nader campaign, which has little money for advertising, said Oct. 31 the ads would air in 30 markets, though officials, including Bill Hillsman, chief creative officer of North Woods, declined to say how much would be spent or in which markets exactly the advertising would air. While MasterCard reacted with a lawsuit when the Nader forces parodied its "Priceless'' campaign created by McCann-Erickson Worldwide, New York, there was no immediate similar reaction from Monster.com.
Edward Boches, chief creative officer of Mullen, which no longer handles Monster.com, said he has mixed feeling about seeing his ad parodied.
"As creator of the commercial, I am flattered that the spot has such recognition and equity,'' he said. "They didn't do it because they were stealing an idea. They did it because they believed there was equity inherent in the original commercial. In that regard if feels nice, and it was a smart thing to do. At the same time, as a creator, I am sorry to see that a candidate who is new and fresh couldn't find an execution as fresh as his voice is supposed to be.''
Copyright October 2000, Crain Communications Inc.