The red light district "Stop Traffik" stunt wasn't done in the red light district.

Is a good idea still a good idea when it falls in the woods and nobody can hear it scream? When I applauded the Stop Traffik case study I had fallen for the story it tells in the opening shot. That shot shows the Moulin Rouge on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in the red light district Amsterdam and the canal.

Of course I think that all of this dancing is happening in front real potential punters, but I did wonder why some of the faces were pixellated and some were not. I chalked it up to street filming, where each passer-by wasn't effectively flagged down by crew to sign a consent form. Now I think that the pixellated people are the only witnesses not in on the gag - this is an ad shoot pretending to be the red light district in the Jordan, quite a skip away from the real red light action.

Take a walk on the wild side, err.... in the Jordan and see the actual building where this supposed flash mod stunt was shot in Amsterdam. It's a long way from the Red Light district. Have a look and see the building and the one next to it on the right are the same as the ones seen in the case study.

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Now, does it matter? It's still a good idea, right? Well sure, but the stunt was done in another area of Amsterdam where the potential punters aren't there to witness it. My spontanious applause came from the fact I thought this dancing flashmob of pretend-hookers were delivering the message to the actual target market of men who buy women in the red light district.


Red Light Girls gone wild

It is not the first time, and it won't be the last time that a good idea is "faked" in order to garner some attention. Dozens fall off the top of my head, the GPS illustration, the statue of liberty stunt for alpha-1, that Danish lady looking for her baby-daddy on youtube, and so on. If Duval Guillaume put holes on only a handful round objects and maybe made a single schweppes fountain the massive amount of press still make the ad a success, right?

If it's a good idea, it still is one, but a good idea not actually seen by the target is an ineffective one. As much as we may like to, we're not here to impress our esteemed colleagues, we're here to changes perceptions and conquer minds for a brand or a cause. Is the target in this case all the people on the web who read adland and Ososcio and various other adblogs? If so, congrats - we watched it. If that's not your target, you failed advertising 101 - get message to the target market.

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    Apr 10, 2012
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    Apr 10, 2012
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Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.