Re-gard-less of what the tastemakers might say, not all “bad” advertising is bad. And today, nobody does Bad better than Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal—a North Carolina-based comedy duo who joined my roster of all-time ad heroes early last year with a musical-comedy masterpiece for The Red House (“Where black people and white people buy furniture!”).
Several months later, Rhett&Link created a dark epic in the grand Clint Eastwood | Sergio Leone tradition for Cullman Liquidation (used mobile home sales).
Now comes their latest creation: A jingle-driven love letter for Corydon, Indiana’s Butt Drugs. Yes, that’s the store’s real name. And yes, they have a lot of fun with it (“free parking in the rear!”).
I’d describe the primary tone of Rhett&Link’s spots as heartfelt irony. They select overtly peculiar or utterly humdrum businesses as their clients, and celebrate their actors’ absolute lack of star quality. But they never do it at the expense of the businesses, or their “stars”. Yeah, they’re playing these folks for laughs, but they do it with genuine affection—and they always leave me loving the people (and the businesses). That’s a special talent.
Better still, they benefit their clients’ businesses. Just to make sure, I called The Red House and Cullman Liquidation—and both reported a very positive impact from their spots (although Robert Lee from Cullman Liquidation did lament the stifling credit environment’s impact on his ability to finance new customers).
If you’ve never seen their work before, you owe it to yourself to spend a few minutes with Rhett&Link:
THE RED HOUSE