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Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

New Smithe commercial has too much of a French flavor

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jesse white1.JPGTim Smithe thinks it's the Smithe furniture empire's "prettiest" commercial to date. That may be, but the new spot featuring the three by-now-iconic furniture mavens is certainly not their most inspired bit of marketing lunacy. This newest Walter E. Smithe Furniture spot just now breaking has the three brothers sitting with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White on a couch in front of Chicago's famed Buckingham Fountain. Though it's hardly a key point in the new spot, the couch on which all are seated is from the company's new Pierre Deux French Country furniture collection.

At the top of the spot we see the three Smithe brothers start mouthing French to each other as subtitles at the bottom of the screen seem to offer a translation of what the boys are saying. But anyone with even a passing familiarity with French will quickly realize what the Smithe boys are saying doesn't remotely jive with the translation -- a gimmick that creates confusion in the mind of the viewer. What's worse,though, is that it isn't funny. In any event, White suddenly mutters something in French too as the camera catches White's famed tumbling team waiting in the wings -- as it were. On cue, they start trampolining over the men seated on the couch. It's a fairly impressive feat -- exquisitely captured against a bright blue sky and the Chicago loop skyline.

But alas, the beauty of these visuals doesn't make up for the fact the commercial lost us at the beginning with all the French-speaking schtick. Still, some good will come out of the spot -- the Smithe brothers are supporting both the Buckingham Fountain restoration and the Jesse White Tumbling Team -- an organization that dates back to 1959, when it was founded as a juvenile delinquency prevention program.

Lew's view: B-

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on June 30, 2009 1:51 PM.

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