Comedy might be an incredibly subjective art form, but it's also a very effective one, especially when it comes to advertising. One form of comedy that has always left me cold, however, is the hidden-camera/reality TV setup, which invariably casts an unbearably irritating actor into the wild (usually a shopping centre, almost certainly in London) to mildly inconvenience the general public for our supposed amusement. The humour is often crass, heartless and embarrassingly predictable. With its latest campaign, however, Freeview has taken the basic principals of the hidden-camera prank and given it a far warmer and more engaging slant, which I for one welcome with open arms. Is it cringe-inducing at times? Of course, but then that's half the fun right?
The online campaign from Jack Morton Worldwide, focuses on the comedian Joseph Wilson, performing as his alter ego, Freddy
The online campaign from Jack Morton Worldwide, focuses on the comedian Joseph Wilson, performing (with admirable enthusiasm) as his alter ego, Freddy the impressionistic box office attendant. Based around the slogan, “It's Even Better When It's Free,” the three spots , each shot in a different entertainment venue, feature Freddy interacting with cinema goers and putting on a range of frankly spot-on impressions of everyone from Bruce Forsyth and Alan Partridge to Kermit the Frog and South Park's Mr Hanky. The punters are then given free tickets to that evening's feature, underlining the fact that Freeview offers a variety of surprisingly vast televisual options without a subscription. The campaign, simply titled “Freddy,” will be running online until the end of March, and will also be supported by VOD through 4oD and the ITV Player, as well as Freeview's own social media channels and a dedicated Freddy hub.
Freeview found Freddy at the CINEMA
James Chambers, partnership marketing manager at Freeview, said that the new campaign, which follows their successful “Left Behinds” and “Cat & Budgie” campaigns (produced for TV by Leo Burnett), “Focuses on surprising moments of entertainment.” He is more than happy with the work, feeling that “By catching people just as they’re ready to pay, their expressions prove that entertainment really is better when it’s free.” It's hard to argue with that one. Keith Chamarette, head of digital for Jack Morton Worldwide's EMEA region, added that the company was “Looking for a bold idea,” and said they love nothing more than a client who will let them see how far they can push such a bold idea. They “Loved creating this work and can't wait to see it unleashed on the public.”
Freeview has taken the basic principals of the hidden-camera prank and given it a far warmer and more engaging slant
The first two ads, set in a cinema and theatre respectively, have already been released online, and can be viewed right here on this very page! The final clip is set to launch in March. They were directed by Adam Wimpenny, with media and planning by MEC. Fans can also share the campaign on social meadia using the #FreddyDoesTelly hashtag.
Freeview found Freddy at the THEATRE
Benjamin Hiorns is a freelance writer and struggling musician from Kidderminster in the UK. Impressionists might be pretty low down on the comedy food-chain, but we've all gotta start somewhere, and anyone who can do a passable muppet earns his seal of approval.