Leon’s entices YouTubers to ignore the ‘skip’ button

Who: Leon’s, BIMM, OMD Canada.

What: “Leon’s Skip or Save,” a new YouTube ad that acknowledges users’ tendency to hit the skip button on pre-roll ads (an estimated 65% of people according to a 2017 study by IPG Mediabrands’ Media Lab) and tries to incentivize them to watch the entire spot.

When & Where: The ad debuted on June 19. It’s part of the retailer’s “Surprisingly Stylish” campaign that debuted in May and includes social, digital, flyers and in-store activity. It’s BIMM’s first work for Leon’s since winning the AOR assignment last year.

Why: It’s part of a broader effort by Leon’s to improve consumer perception of the 110-year-old brand, which has traditionally been associated with affordable—but not always stylish—furniture.

“Leon’s doesn’t suffer from an awareness problem, and its loyalty scores are quite high,” says Roehl Sanchez, BIMM’s chief creative officer. “What we’re trying to do is appeal to a younger audience. Right now Leon’s just isn’t on their radar.”

The campaign also represents a more brand-focused effort for the retailer, which has tended to focus its marketing around recurring promotional events like Ho, ho, hold the payments” and the “Don’t pay a cent event.” “Instead of selling the sale we’re trying to sell the furniture,” says Sanchez.

How: The ad uses the pretentious couple Todd and Margo first introduced in the brand spot for Leon’s (which they insist on calling “Lay-onnns”). It acknowledges that most YouTube users who encounter skippable pre-roll are just waiting for the “Skip” button to appear, before promising big savings to those who stay until the end of the spot. Those who stick with it get a clickable button giving them 10% off any online purchase. (See it below, published on Vimeo.)

It joins a list of ads over the years that acknowledge consumers’ tendency to utilize YouTube’s “Skip” button. They include memorable efforts from the U.S. ad agency NAIL Communications and the insurance brand GEICO.

Those names seem familiar: Todd and Margo are the names of Chevy Chase’s insufferable neighbours in the 1989 holiday classic National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Deliberate? “Yes. Very deliberate,” says Sanchez.

And we quote: “Leon’s has a storied history of using humour as part of the brand, and they kind of walked away from that for a while. We’re trying to bring that back. We feel that if we make them a bit more entertaining, they’ll be a bit more appealing.” –Sanchez.

Next up: A second spot featuring Todd and Margo (as well as a new mystery character) will debut early next month, and will run in theatres through Sept. 12.


Chris Powell