Brilliant: A 100% viral Christmas (rant, that is) for WaySpa

Hordes of men feel horribly pressured at this time of year to come up with desirable gifts for significant others, so Dentsu Canada captured that trauma for cyberbrand WaySpa.com, and is letting the denizens of YouTube do the rest...

Hordes of men feel horribly pressured at this time of year to come up with desirable gifts for significant others, so Dentsu Canada captured that trauma for cyberbrand WaySpa.com, and is letting the denizens of YouTube do the rest…

The atmosphere may be serene at the scores of independent spas across North America networked on WaySpa.com, but the four spots for the Toronto-HQ’d co’s Christmas campaign are anything but. The exclusively digital initiative stars harried, hapless and profane dudes venting about how screwed they feel when they inevitably mess up on holiday gifts for the missus.

‘The insight for this actually came from the president of WaySpa, Jeremy Creed, who told us that there’s always a landslide of

downloads of spa gift certificates on Christmas morning,’ says Dentsu Toronto strategic catalyst Chris Pastirik. The idea was, since WaySpa.com provides stressless and welcome gift solutions in the form of spa certificates for all those last-minute chaps, why not make the point online. At the outset, he says, ‘we talked about what it’s like to go to the mall at the eleventh hour, when the place is loaded with guys with a look on their face like deer in the headlights.’

Each version speaks to a different dilemma. There’s the hackneyed but true last-minute shopping at the only place that’s still open (the gas station) and a rant which Pastirik describes as ‘a poor guy who just completely screwed up and found nothing.’ One spot arose from client insight that guys download coupons as a way to top up other gifts when they suddenly clue in they haven’t done enough.

Although turning the spots into radio ads was considered, Pastirik says the ultimate decision was ‘to go 100% viral,’ rolling out the spots to YouTube and advertising-focused sites, as well as e-mailing them to members of the influentsia to create buzz. Dentsu’s work for WaySpa included both uncensored and profanity-bleeped versions of the rants and Pastirik says it was ‘just logical to give people who might worry about being offended another option.’ Credits for what might just go down as the best stress-buster of the 2006 holiday season also go to creative catalyst Glen Hunt, lead (rant) creative on the effort, and account director Natalie Vonlanthen-Choi.