—Let’s hope the hilarious new campaign from Mass Mutual is a sign of things to come, says Craig Redmond—
Allow me to provide an invaluable, lifesaving pearl of advisory wisdom. If you’re drunk, with your entire creative department, at a karaoke lounge, on stage with one of your writers, who has actual musical talent, don’t—not ever—ask him to sing a duet of, oh God, Don McLean’s “American Pie.”
It’s eight minutes and 42 seconds long. And results in an excruciating eternity of a performance that will always be remembered as the day the music truly did die.
I was reminded of that evening, and my agency colleagues trying to pry the microphone from my unrelenting grip, when I saw this work for Mass Mutual—as tangential as that may seem.
You see, when the World Health Organization declared Covid a global pandemic last March 11, that was the day the funny died—a mournful moment worthy of a Don McLean sequel. And one that many of us in our fragile industry feared would be the end of real funny forever. And by funny, we don’t mean “insightful, gentle smiling, heartwarming funny.” We mean funny, funny.
So, from a category that has been marinating in its own sacrosanct sauce for nearly two years now, it was a huge relief to watch these insurance ads and be granted the right to laugh, mercifully, out loud.
They show parents ruthlessly evaluating the future prospects of their children. They make light of losing one’s livelihood. They ridicule rose-coloured retirement dreams. And they do it all hilariously.
Which is a good omen of things to come, one prays.
Because these last 16 months of unfunny have made every other protracted pause in our business (including an overstayed appearance on a karaoke stage) seem fleeting and inconsequential by comparison.
Giggle at will.
Craig Redmond is a creative leader with Palmer Stamnes and Co, an independent family of marketing communication companies.