David Blaine helps sell a car.
The Daily Telegraph
27th July 1999
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Ad of the Week
Client/brand Peugeot/206 Gti
Agency/media buyer Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper/Initiative Media
Background Volkswagen invented the hot hatchback market in the late 1970s with its Golf GTi. Peugeot then took it over in the late 1980s with its 205 GTi, a favoured toy of the then emerging yuppie City bankers and up-and-coming media executives.
The 205 GTi, a huge seller in its own right, was also vital to Peugeot because of its halo effect on the marque’s more prosaic models. Now the hope is that its successor, the 206 GTi, can do the same. The difference this time is that the 206 GTi will have to fight its corner against new-generation sports models such as the MGF, Mazda MX5 and BMW Roadster.
What happens The trendy thirty-something New York magician David Blaine is seen performing card tricks to passers-by in a variety of Brooklyn street scenes. The basic concept is that he is sharp, cool, urban and fast, values we are meant to apply to the car, whose tag line is “Now you see it … now you don’t.” To give the commercial added realism and edge, it is shot in hand-held camera style by a team better known for pop videos for the Beautiful South.
The commercial ends when Blaine makes a card appear inside the window of a 206 GTi parked at the roadside. He then drives off, saying: “This is not a trick.”
Comment As car ads go, it is unusual in two ways. First, it is deliberately designed as a piece of entertainment. There is no hard sell and the car is hardly glimpsed until the end, the first point at which viewers would realise they were watching an ad. Second, it is two minutes long, which means Peugeot can only afford to show the full commercial in cinemas.’ Normally this might restrict its reach, but the commercial has been booked into Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. As well as getting the full impact of a wide-screen presentation, the ad will also be seen by the 10 million to 15 million who are expected to see the film.
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