05 December 2011

The Persuasive Power of Reacting

Have a boo at this wonderful TV spot for Kohler.  Then meet me below, and we'll talk.

First, let's scratch the 'who is that guy?' itch.  The fellow playing the architect is veteran character actor Wolf Kahler, perhaps best remembered for having his face melt in the climax of Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark.  

That out of the way:  what a spectacular way to sell faucets.  Casting Mr. Kahler to play a credible, world-renowned architect, and the beauty shots of the architect's breathtaking workspace, give the premise a credibility.  It's easy to believe this is a place of upscale art.

Then, the switcheroo.  The woman reveals that she wants a house built around her swank Kohler tap.  Not ha-ha funny, but rather, lightly audacious.  

But that's the buildup.  Everything- and I mean everything- about this spot hinges on one moment:  the architect's reaction to the woman's request. 

Has it shown the architect buying in-  instantly worshipping the faucet- it would've been over-the-top.  Had the architect's jaw dropped and eyes bugged out, signalling that the idea is absurd, it would take on a vaudevillian feel.  Either fate would cause the floor to open, and the idea to drop into the shark-infested pond where almost-good ads meet their maker.  Or at least their maker's maker.

Instead, the architect's reaction is non committal.  In other words, the very reaction an architect would given when presented with a viable challenge.  In the silence you can hear the tumblers clicking between his ears.  "Design a house around a faucet? Hmmmm."

At some unspoken level, it suggests that Kohler faucets belong in a conversation about upscale design.

A fine bit of brushed-nickel branding, this. 

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