I remember some ancient copywriting book that suggested–somewhat seriously– “if you have nothing to say, sing it.” Well, there must be at least one copy of that book still on the shelf at Visa’s ad agency. Because a current spot for the Visa Debit Card uses the iconic “Super Freak” track first recorded by Rick James in the early ’80s. Catchy. Infectious. And pointless.
I admit to mixed emotions here. I like music in commercials, and part of me thinks that if you can get people humming along with your commercial, nothing else matters. But the professional in me disagrees — it does matter.
And I’m certainly no purist. Heck, I once used the old ’60s hit “Good Lovin'” (reworded slightly) for a bath tissue campaign! But it made sense, both marketing-wise, and because the product name appears more than once in the lyrics. But I challenge you to tell me exactly what “Super Freak” has to do with using a Visa Debit card. If there’s a connection, I’m sorry to admit — I don’t get it.
Sure, it’s fun to watch some of the characters “bopping” to the tune. And the announcer makes some vapid attempt to connect the dots. (“We all have a little freak in us.”) But freaks don’t write checks? Freaks don’t pay cash? Am I somehow a freak if I do use your card to shop online?
Someone help. I still like the song (it reminds me of the movie Little Miss Sunshine.) But it makes absolutely no marketing sense to me for the Visa Debit Card brand. I used to enjoy the overproduced commercials showing commerce grinding to a halt when some loser tried to pay by cash or check. Those made sense. To me, this doesn’t. I’d like to hear your thoughts!