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Xbox "Jump Rope"
Launching the new Xbox console is one of those dream/nightmare assignments. The product, the muscle behind it, the inventiveness that has been associated with the making of the box and its associated software thus far make creating an ad campaign around the 360 the kind of drippingly juicy brief a creative person could ever hope to get HIS (see my story in Ad Age last week?) hands around (read about Xbox's very interesting approach to working with its creative partners in the October issue of Creativity). But the attendant expectations surely make the proposition downright frightening. So, here we have the first of the TV portion of a large scale integrated campaign and, rightly, one expects the earth to move (and this campaign was especially pre-hyped). So when this Frank Budgen-directed spot from 72 and Sunny/McCann San Fran arrived, perhaps its simplicity and low key, analog nature threw some off. But the spot delivers everything it's supposed to and more. In a recent article, Xbox marketing cheese Peter Moore spoke against the depiction of "shiny happy people" in the ads, and "Jump Rope" reflects that commitment to keeping it real. The execution of the ad itself was the ultimate exercise in real—the quietly amazing rope feats were all captured in camera—in one take. Sure, the "everyone -joining-in-a-game-that's-spontaneously-erupted-on-the-street" genre has been overcooked. But this is different.
The spot restrains itself from beating anyone over the head; viewers can discover the street scene on their own terms. The result is inviting, accessible but still somehow quite cool in its own way—precisely the fine line the marketer would like to walk, keeping the youngsters happy while inviting the rest of us geezers to jump in.