“Busted Move”: A Video I’d Like To See Created
There are legends and there are heroes, and then there are people who have picked up the phone when destiny called, listened intently, and replied with a steely, “Yes, I am the champion of virtue that you seek, and I accept most major credit cards.” My preparation, selflessness and resolve in the days leading up to our move to the ‘burbs qualifies me for that latter group.
While The Missus has been tending to mundanities like packing, hiring the movers, setting up utilities, cooking and cleaning, helping me find my shirt and raising our child, I have fearlessly charged through 26 hours of TV shows frozen for eternity on our soon-to-be-returned DVR. As a result, I was barely able to make it through my usual ration of three newspapers last Sunday. Is the proper recognition for such brave comportment a street named in my honor, or are we in presidential-citation territory here?
Either way, I was hoping to complement my moving musings with a survey of what I imagined would be myriad branded video series chronicling the process. I expected to find a solid 15-20 clips/series in which an overburdened family – two working parents, three drooling children, and an incontinent pet – were rescued from moving chaos by a zenboy/spiritgirl who just happened to be brand-affiliated. He/she would walk the family through the four major stages of moving evolution (purging, preparing, packing, dropping box on pinkie toe) and neutralize anyone who wasn’t with the program. At clip’s end, we’d see the family happy and established in its new home, a domestic scene that could be my own before the decade is out, and the brand all prominent and whatnot.
Yet there isn’t a single clip out there that approaches this description. We have 8,200 branded series set in workplaces populated by comely white 20-somethings, 8,199 of which ape the Office mockumentary model, but not a one that dramatizes the disruptive life trauma that is a move from one domicile to the next? Videos posted to YouTube by blissfully self-involved oversharers don’t count. This is the worst instance of omissive marketing since the stealth rollout of Jalapeno Cheddar Tortilla Combos (“made with stone ground corn”).
Any number of brands across a range of product and service categories could benefit from affiliation with such a project. Moving companies themselves are the obvious candidates, as their primary marketing tools appear to be self-submitted Yelp reviews (“on time very polite A++++”) and begging random passersby to shower them with Facebook affection. But how about the major-league brands that play a role, sooner or later, in every homeowner’s existence? Samsung is so eager to network my house with its audio and video components that I might have to apply for a restraining order. And I’ve spent so much time in Lowe’s over the last few weeks that I’ve met four of the flooring guy’s five kids (such scamps!).
With the caveats that I know less than nothing about marketing or content creation and that my primary focus of study in college was gerunds, here’s how “Busted Move” – that’s the working title, because you can never go wrong with a slightly negative-sounding moniker that plays off the title of a 1980s hit – might go down. We’d open on a family house in a state of major disarray – boxes everywhere, brush fires in the kitchen, screaming kids smeared with war paint, dad cowering in the corner, mom trying to stop her hands from shaking long enough to down her Chardonnay, etc. Then we’d go back to the start: the picture-perfect family meeting with a moving consultant (or Lowe’s new-home-fixer-upper guy, or whoever). From there, we’d be treated to scenes from both the actual universe (an attentive, orderly moving process, guided by our serene brand ambassadors) and the alternate one (overexaggerated filth, wanton property destruction and inward-directed fury).
It’d be funniest if the alternate version depicted a simultaneous unraveling of the family unit – the moving process exposing schisms that nobody knew were there – but clearly any rough edges would have to be sanded smooth to get brands on board with it. So maybe there’s mild, respectful sparring over whether to chuck the circa-1997 La-Z-Boy recliner (branding!)? Something like that. I’ve clearly thought this through. And honey, I’m keeping my effin’ chair.
Since this ranks among the greatest ideas in the history of online video, I’ve taken the liberty of copyrighting it. I’d watch “Busted Move.” You’d watch “Busted Move,” assuming you recently moved, plan to do so in the indeterminate future or have too much time on your hands. It will claim awards and a place in your heart. Get on it, brand minions.
If you’ve ever had to pack up, move, and hit the ground running you’ll have some appreciation for this video pitch for a reality show based on having a rewarding experience from moving instead of the usual stress filled affair it can be.
If you don’t have access to General George Patton’s 3rd Army, an outfit famous for taking on tough challenges, a show like this could be the start of a new shift toward showing how life’s challenges can be enjoyable, workable, and profitable.
By Larry Dobrow Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012