Playing around with some of the nastiest dictators to have ever set foot on earth might seem a touch risky, but for online electricity upstart Powershop, it’s hoping a new campaign by DoubleFish, staring the likes of North Korea’s Kim Jong II and Saddam Hussein, will give the company a point of difference against its larger competitors.
The ‘Same Power, Different Attitude’ campaign launched today and puts North Korea’s Kim Jong II in charge of a community sausage sizzle, while Saddam Hussein hits the street to collect for a refugee aid charity. And as for Colonel Gaddafi, well, he’ll be performing his own random act of kindness soon enough.
The cheeky campaign comes courtesy of Ken Double and John Fisher of DoubleFish, the advertising agency that has worked with Powershop since it launched two years ago.
Double says Powershop was looking for something “transformative” and he thinks the new campaign answers that brief, succeeding in differentiating Powershop from its competitors.
“It speaks the fundamental truth about the brand,” he says. “It is slightly controversial but I hope everyone can see it for what it is.”
Controversial indeed. But Double Fish seems ready for any bite back the campaign might induce. On the campaign’s website, which features more in-depth detail about each dictator’s good deed, Powershop says:
“The ‘Same Power, Different Attitude’ campaign takes a bunch of rotten demagogues, famous the world over for their abuse of power, and recasts them as people who do decent things in their community. It's satire for sure, but you could say we've got a bit of nerve to feature people in our ads who've regularly violated human rights. In truth, we think that dressing them up as humble, caring people is just about the best way possible to humiliate them.”
So far Double says the reception has been good, but you never know what you’re going to get from the discerning public, and only time (or your comments to this story) will tell.
For his part, Powershop chief executive Ari Sargent is upbeat about the satirical campaign.
“It’s pure satire that ridicules some of the most despised individuals who have ever held the reins of power,” he says.
Anyone with power—be it a politician or power company—he adds, should use that power responsibly.
“Showing how out of place they look in everyday, charitable situations highlights their abuse of power and comments on how different the world would be if they’d used it for good instead of evil.”
The campaign uses hand-painted posters that will hit billboards, bus shelters and online sites this week.
All going well, Double says the campaign has a lot of capacity for more fun to be had with it as part of a longer-term campaign.