Déjà vu all over again. A little more than a year ago, we were accosted on the subway by a horrific bit of campaigning by the folks at Budweiser. It happened again last night.
The concise copy on the poster-sized advert for successful online-food-ordering provider Seamless.com declared, “Your 7th floor walkup doesn’t have an elevator. Order food without leaving home.”
It hurt our brain.
“Your 7th floor walkup doesn’t have an elevator.”
The definition of a walkup (correct spelling = “WALK-UP,” by the way) is a building with NO ELEVATOR. Seamless.com was essentially saying something like, “Your convertible has no roof.”
Never mind that, according to PropertyShark.com, there are fewer than 100 seven-story-plus walk-ups remaining in New York City. (Else this is the most micro-targeted out-of-home campaign in history!)
Moving on…”Order food without leaving home.” What does that have to do with the first line? New Yorkers already know how to do this – see “call take-out place for delivery.”
Seamless.com has done interesting work in the past (such as its “Happiness Is” effort), but this current effort is atrocious. When attempting humor, ads should be relevant or ironic or at least FUNNY. This Seamless.com work hits none of those requirements. And the food in the accompanying imagery is puzzling: a bird’s-eye view of who knows what.
Seamless.com’s “stairs are inconvenient / remote ordering is convenient” dynamic is the age-old “problem – solution” model of messaging: The marketer highlights a common pain point the consumer has, and reveals its solution to take that pain away.
The “problem – solution” here, however, just doesn’t add up. For New Yorkers, the problem of “too many stairs” ranks probably 26th in a list of problems that delivered food solves for. Seamless.com’s strong online benefits don’t even come into play in the “stairs” scenario.
At bottom (no pun intended), this effort is copycat and derivative. Subway riders know exactly who Seamless.com is ripping off - a local company that has perfected humorous “problem – solution” messages to New Yorkers for many, many years.