BY LORI CULWELL
Today I would like to discuss this super-weird commercial series for the new Discover “It” Card. Oh, and if you want to download these commercials (or any YouTube videos) for the future, here is a nifty downloading tool for YouTube videos. You're welcome.
First off: the Discover Card is still a thing? I kind of feel like, how is that possible? Aren’t they the equivalent of Diner’s Club? I’ve never had a Discover Card and don’t plan to because I feel like no one even takes that card, and I don’t know how they still have budget for advertising to acquire new clients. But, that is neither here nor there. I was thinking this commercial series was totally weird for a little while, but I wanted to get a second opinion. I finally got a chance to show one of them to Stephan, and he confirmed that in fact, the whole premise is weird and analysis-worthy, and I was like THANK YOU, so here goes. This is the Discover “It” Card commercial, where they are trying to say that they treat you like you would treat yourself.
So-- let me get this straight. The actor calls in, and he paid his bill late, and the actor in the Discover Card office may or may not be the same actor, and because they look so similar, it’s really all I can think about as soon as I see him in the Discover Card office, and then I stop paying attention to the attributes of the card, because I’m looking back and forth between the two actors. Are they the same? I have watched all of the commercials repeatedly, and I have concluded that they are NOT the same person, but they are meant to look similar enough to make you wonder. This is pretty much true of every other commercial in this series, where the actor/ actress in the Discover Card office looks just enough like the person calling in to confuse me.
I guess I just have to ask—who thought this was a good idea? Why, if you’re going to make them look kind of similar, wouldn’t you just put the same person in the same clothes, at their house and at the Discover Card office? Are they actually trying to imply a more tacit message? Maybe they're saying that every Discover Card holder has a freaky doppelganger who works at the company, just sitting there to fix their credit card mistakes? Again, confusing and weird, and like, that is a credit card only David Lynch would want. So, now I will put it to you—do you find this series weird as well? Can you tell if the people are different, or is that what it makes you think?
Because Stephan and I have both worked in advertising (I as a copywriter-creative director type and Stephan as the Voice of God), we have the following to say: this is confusing. You are not making an art film, ad agency people. You are creating an advertisement, and advertising is supposed to be "on the nose" as it can possibly be, so as to highlight the product you are advertising. This is the kind of thing that focus groups were MADE for. You don't want Suzi in a teddy bear sweatshirt telling you how to end your movie, that's fine, but she has something valuable to say when it comes to advertising. LISTEN TO SUZI, advertising agency. Suzi would have saved you here.
Here's another example, and while I can tell that these two are NOT the same actress, this maybe even makes me a little more confused.
Conclusion: it is my opinion that the actors in the Discover Card commercials ARE different people, but are supposed to look the same. Overall, this is a strange concept, awkwardly executed, and made more difficult by the fact that I usually watch tv on my computer or phone now, making it harder to discern individual details like this. I feel like the ad agency should have known this.
Oh, and if you want to download these commercials (or any YouTube videos) for the future, here is a nifty downloading tool for YouTube videos. You're welcome.