Good advertising usually results from either the client or the agency knowing better, but in the case of Trivago, a competitor of sites like Booking.com and Priceline.com, it’s clear that no one knew any better.
I’m all for brands establishing a spokesperson or mascot for their products. I look forward to seeing what Flo will say next, don’t mind the Geico Geck, and even rosy-cheeked, and puffy-faced William Shatner is only mildly unpleasant. But when Tim Willams, aka the Trivago guy, who looks like an STD-charged version of the main character on HBO’s Hung – explains how to use the online site, I really feel like something wrong has happened to me. I lurch at the remote to change the channel, and go up to take a hot shower, but it’s still on every channel I turn to.
Still on every channel after a global public tongue-lashing. The response to these spots was so negative, that the German company responded with good humor, and launched a campaign in August, to give their Trivago guy a makeover. Trivago asked consumers to give the guy a makeover by sending in a photo of what he should be wearing. The winning outfit would win a trip to Europe to sit in on the new spots.
It’s bad enough when clients hate your casting after a spot is complete, but what happens when the entire world thinks you’ve done a bad job? Ouch.
Out of hundreds of people who come in for casting, what art director thought this was the right vibe? How did this unkempt guy, that looks like he’s violated every step of the 12-step-program get hired?
If you haven’t already seen it, a parody on YouTube has the answer. The clients must have used Spokespeepo.com to cast the spot! On spokespeepo.com, a Trivago-guy look-alike says, “Instead of watching hours of auditions, Spokespeepo.com makes it easy to find the ideal vagabond…and with just two clicks, select open-shirt, and no-belt and search.” This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen on YouTube in a while!