By Rebecca Pierce
The hotel chain Motel 6 has a new campaign celebrating its 50th birthday. The 30 second spot was created by The Richards Group, Dallas and features the metamorphosis of the nuclear family over the past 50 years. A father drives on the highway with his wife, daughter and son. The car and its inhabitants retain their roles in the nuclear family, but their clothing and the objects they are using in the car transform to fit different eras from the 60’s through the present. There is the usual voice-over in the background by Tom Bodett. Through the simulated passage of time, Motel 6’s message is that although the world has changed a lot (specifically transportation and traveling), Motel 6 has remained a reliable place to stay overnight while traveling.
The spot is definitely creative, using the digital to transition the family through time. The detail in the commercial is astounding, however, it’s the detail that can be construed as confusing. The movement from the family from one era to another is fluid but rapid and involves so much detail that a watching consumer may be overwhelmed with what to focus on.
What could also be seen as a problem is that Tom Bodett’s voice-over lasts the length of the entire commercial…so not only do your eyes have to take in and absorb the commercial, but your ears have to be listening attentively as well. Motel 6’s commercial just asks a lot of an over saturated population whose eyes are glazed over while watching commercials, or whose eyes are simply not even looking at the screen. It requires a lot for an audience to pay attention and actually retain a commercial’s message in the current media climate and Motel 6 may have fallen up short on being memorable because their commercial requires so much attention.
The concept of the commercial was a good idea, but I think the most nostalgic and memorable part is Tom Bodett’s voice reminding us that, “the light’s still on.”