03 Nov Employing your (and your audience’s) idols
I never completely got on the Buffy bandwagon (or hearse?). Charmed was my teenage go-to for pretty ladies fighting supernatural forces, but I did briefly cheat on Prue, Piper and Phoebe for Sunnydale’s vampire slayer in the early 2000s, and it wasn’t half bad.
However, for millions – 5.3m in the third season – Buffy The Vampire Slayer was much more. So, it makes total sense for a brand to draw on this nostalgia and tap that fan base by dropping Buffy herself, Sarah Michelle Gellar, into Australia for a time to draw attention to their competition.
From what I picked up in a couple of TV interviews and print articles, Specsavers’ “spectacle wearer of the year” had nothing to do with vampires, crucifixes or garlic. Gellar simply wore glasses, and was an icon for many who might now be considering their next pair. (Which may be the result of years watching and re-watching seven seasons of slaying.)
And it was this iconic status that media drew on – from Sunrise to Fairfax. It’s the risk you take with linking your brand to pop icon; when their celebrity gets everyone’s excitement and interest, and then a potentially awkward segue: “So, you’re here to talk about…”
But Gellar’s Sunrise interview was a great example of a celebrity nailing her starring role. Her key messages and call to action were clear despite claims of jetlag, it was fun (giving Sam a pair of glasses), informative (she knew about the company, its roots and charitable work, and what they do outside making glasses), and took the conversation beyond the function of the product (glasses are an expression of personality).
I’d love to think somewhere along the planning stages there was a closet Buffy fan waiting for the right campaign to employ SMG. And as a fan boy of other sci-fi and fantasy programmes, I’m genuinely happy it worked out so well for them and the other fans that got a shot of 90s nostalgia that week.
Don’t be surprised if Alyssa Milano is suggested in an upcoming brainstorm. Just saying.