The Dirt Devil Cannes Shortlisted ad that (kinda) sucks.

When the "Dirt Devil Exorcist" spot began touring the world via creatives and amused horrors films fans showing it to each other I knew it would be big. Big enough to shortlist in the Cannes film lions was rather unexpected for me though. There are fans of this ad as it so perfectly homages a movie that's scared the hell out of everyone at some point, and I like the tension build, and the slow paced scare. Some producers will (off the record) tell you that it's 60 seconds to long. I disagree, but it's clearly selling an idea and nice film, rather than a product. Don't get me wrong, I like it, as much as I love The Excorcist. Now, did the client ever sign off on this?

We appreciate your interest in Dirt Devil. The "exorcist" advertisement was created by a student in Germany independent of Dirt Devil. We have no plans to endorse this advertisement or use it to promote products in the United States.

Attempting to get a hold of the PR person in Germany have been fruitless (she might not even be getting my mails, and I can't stand holding a line for twenty minutes listening to German waiting phrases), but all signs point to "never approved by the client" here.

What are the rules for entering work to Cannes film lions? Lets see:

It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that the commissioning client has the rights to use the intellectual property of the brand advertised. Entries cannot be made without the prior permission of the advertiser/owner of the rights of the advertisement.

I spoke to Paul Lavoie, who sat on the Titanium and Integrated Lions this year, about it and said "Isn't it obvious that this is a spec ad? Or "ghost" ad as some wan't to call it?" He smiled: "You can't blame them for trying though. They're creatives, they want their work to be seen."

Well congrats then, we've all seen it now.

Oh and PS - that whole really strong suck thing? Yeah, we know.

Aspirateur 1997 by joelapompe

Also - the famous suicide that got bonked due to powerful vacuum cleaner:

Oh yeah, putting this here so that the people who don't come to the site can see this in their RSS readers: Jolapompe paired it.

AnonymousCoward's picture
joelapompe's picture

Cannes Bronze Lion... 1997 !

Dabitch's picture

Motherfucker! I knew I should have called you before, we were talking about this in Cannes "That's totally been done before..." AAARRGH.

Adding that to the post as it was my initial hunch too. You can back me up on that.

Dabitch's picture

....shessh. sorry about my sailors mouth. You know I'm friendly. Still owe you a bottle of that weird Swedish drink.

joelapompe's picture

These ones are very similat too (same joke with vacuum cleaners)

michaeldeane's picture

I'm surprised that anyone would think this spot is real: far too long (expensive media buy), borrowed concept and, in my view, an over wrought execution (the director/editor apparently loved every shot). It screams that no client or agency was standing over their shoulder, exercising some discretion. Because there's very little of it here...

Dabitch's picture

Oh yeah, but well, at least there are 90sec spaces to buy. I freaked out a media buy and client with a 72 second ad once. :P

Dabitch's picture

Here's an update on the legit status of the Excorcist ad that I wrote while wearing a trenchcoat. The Excorcist in Cannes Lions - not signed off by the client? Seems not... yet.