Facebook is bringing in the big guns to promote its Portal video-calling device: The Muppets.
The fuzzy friends star in a new campaign for the company's new suite of Portal products, which include the newly redesigned Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV. The effort bows a year after the privacy-challenged company debuted the first iteration of the in-home calling device.
The effort was created by Anomaly L.A. and the Facebook AR/VR creative team. Directed by Bob Industries’ Dayton/Faris (“Battle of the Sexes,” “Little Miss Sunshine”), the anthem ad kicks off with Rowlf at the keys, ruefully performing the opening of the furry friends’ classic “The Muppet Show” theme song: “It’s time to play the music…”
It then cuts to his other pals who continue the tune, one by one, from far-flung spots around the world—Miss Piggy in Paris, Gonzo cooking a meal at home, and Fozzie Bear, who changes the lyrics and pensively croons, “Miss you guys.”
But then, a knock at the door reveals an unexpected present from Kermit—he’s sent the whole gang a Portal! From there, the tune brightens and the whole crew (including Swedish Chef, Beeker, Monster and even Camilla the chicken) are back together, happily in each other’s faces again, thanks to Portal products.
The endline reads, “If you can’t be there, feel there.”
The introductory spot began running this week. It kicks off an integrated campaign that will continue over the coming months with other ads diving into how the Muppets use Portal to stay in touch.
According to Dave Kaufman, director of marketing for Portal, the campaign aims to “showcase the unique value that the Portal family of products can bring into people’s lives, which is helping people to feel together no matter where they are.” When the brand debuted Portal’s first gen product last year, “we felt there was a lack of human connection in the category, as the majority of home devices didn’t have a screen or camera.”
Thought Kaufman can’t disclose any specific figures on Portal sales, he says the company was “happy” enough with them that it expanded the product line, with support for WhatsApp, new features and partners in the platform ecosystem.
As for how Facebook’s privacy issues have influenced Portal marketing and development, he says that the device was designed with privacy and security in mind, with clear, simple settings to help users enable related security and safety tools, such as an integrated camera cover. “You’ll even see the Muppets demonstrate these features later in the campaign," he says.