The Argos Aliens think you’re stupid
I’ll clutch some straws on Argos’s behalf to begin. Firstly, there are worse ad campaigns than their latest effort. It shows-off their product range (tick), features competitive prices (tick), and promotes their online service (tick).
But why the blue aliens? What’s their relevance?
The fuzzy creatures make the odd jokes, nod to their extra –terrestrial origins and look cute. Fine. They live in a normal house, have normal accents and do normal family stuff. Again, fine, but I’m still unsure where this is going. What’s the connection between these aliens and a catalogue retailer?
Maybe we’ll work it out as the story unfolds, or there will be a snappy tagline to pull it all together. Let’s see…
I’m sorry, what? I was watching the aliens. Did I miss something? I had to replay the video to find out what the voiceover woman said at the end, about Argos or something. It turns-out she said this:
“With over 700 pick-up stores, no other online retailer lets you pick up quite so much, quite so quickly, as argos.co.uk. We believe there’s a better way to shop online. Argos it.”
Did you notice a link between that line and the 25-seconds of alien shenanigans? I didn’t and had to watch the thing again.
At the very start, the mum alien says, “Quick we need summery stuff fast. These earth-summers don’t last long.” Ahhh…they need stuff quick and later we discover Argos are quick. Great. So all people need to do is rewind the advert three or four times and the fog of confusion will lift.
At least we know what they were attempting to do, but it still doesn’t explain the aliens.
With their Xmas 2011 ad (below) they had an embryonic concept. Not perfect but an idea that could produce a campaign. In this version, the aliens served a clear purpose: to offer an objective analysis of our shopping habits at Xmas. They explicitly discuss the foolishness of humans charging around crowded shops during the festive retail frenzy.
They can only offer this perspective because they are aliens. They make you step back, think about your shopping habits and consider a more practical method. The Argos method. It works! Or at least it makes sense.
If Argos reiterated this dynamic they could’ve had a real campaign. But they stopped trying. The people behind the campaign seem to think: “People will pay attention to those aliens now, we can put our feet up”. At best that’s lazy. At worst it’s insulting.
Argos tried to jump on the meerkat bandwagon here but fell off pretty quickly. Compare the Market’s meerkats worked because they’re more than just cute characters – they’re also entertaining and have a clear purpose and back-story. The aliens don’t.
The subtext is: “If you laughed at the meerkats you’ll probably laugh at this, but we don’t care enough about you to work out why.” Any brand using a character-led campaign needs to work harder. Otherwise those cute critters will soon be jettisoned to a distant farm we’re never allowed to visit.