Kenny Powers, K-Swiss Tubes and the art of hiding your sources.

powers-kswissI have a lot of admiration for K-Swiss as a brand. I wanted to state that as an intro so this post doesn’t seem to be a takedown of the K-Swiss brand.

Now as most of you might well know the Kenny Powers K-Swiss Tubes viral was launched around a year ago.

Funny as hell and featuring Danny McBride in all his gloriousness. If you haven’t seen it, here it is.

It spread around the internet like a rash, but in a good way. And I laughed. Unlike the last rash I had.

So why do I have a problem with this spot? My problem stems from award juries awarding this. Award juries that should know better.

As anyone on the creative side of advertising knows, originality is key. You can mix and match, you can combine songs with dinosaurs, it really doesn’t matter. As long as it’s original in some form.

So coming back to the Kenny Powers spot, why is it not original? Well, because it was based on the Kenny Powers TV show.

Say what?… there’s a TV show? Yes, there motherfucking is… something I’d like to think most of the jurors didn’t know at the time of voting.

Well then, what’s different in the ad from the TV show? Nothing really. Same persona, same catchphrases, just he’s now a CEO and you have the product placement.

Now this isn’t a bad thing… I’m sure this worked its nuts off for the brand, but does this really deserve to be awarded creatively?

Let’s say for comparison sake (and yes I made this one up), 15 years ago, if there was an ad for Heineken featuring the cast of Friends and Chandler is doing his thing, and Phoebe is doing her song, and they are drinking Heinekens instead of coffees… does this deserve to be awarded too?

72 and rising, the ad agency who developed this, achieved acceptability in this viral spot, but can I stress, not originality. Next brief I have that’s got a semi decent budget I’ll just cast Anchorman in it and wait on the podium for my awards.

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