Why is Skeletor in the new MoneySuperMarket advert?
The crazy world of the insurance/energy/phone market brokers is a constant source of surprise. We've gone from adverts featuring meerkats to annoying opera stars, and now eighties cartoon icons Skeletor and He-Man get their groove on in the latest effort from MoneySuperMarket. Add in the fact they are dancing to the theme from Fame, and this advert couldn't be any more eighties if it was wearing day-glow ra-ra skirts and leggings. Not only will those images and sounds resonate strongly with anyone who was young in the eighties, but the advert brings the usual no-nos of skeletal villains and swordplay into the marketing arena. By going with something that makes light of such totems, advertisers and marketers aren't shackled by the usual limitations on the cuddly appeal of most advert norms. The key to this campaign is a short, sweet burst of eighties nostalgia, not allowing the audience minds' eye to wander back far enough to remember how tacky this all is, or how poor the cartoon series really was. Relying on an existing brand, no matter how old, can create an instant impact. It also saves on the creative and design process, and the simple juxtaposition of modern life is more than enough to capture an audience. The He-Man and the Masters of the Universe heroes may get a very limited shelf-life this time around, but the idea opens up the prospect of more retro icons appearing in adverts. We've already seen sixties anti-hero Top Cat and friends working for the Halifax, ironic considering most of the shows were about his get-rich-quick schemes. How long will it be until The ThunderCats are advertising pet products? Or, the many Saturday early-morning TV show stars get another gasp of fame, as other advertisers borrow further from the eighties staples of music, video games or TV references to make their point. Technology firms could perhaps use classic video game icons to sell new technology like virtual reality, providing a familiar avatar. But this particular niche is likely to be limited to where a certain amount of cheesy content is expected, more mature brands will rely on classic icons for their higher-end products.