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CDnow Plays a Good Riff With Goofy Roadie

March 05, 1998|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: CDnow

Agency: Hampel/Stefanides, New York

Challenge: Portray the online shopping service as having a selection broad enough to satisfy even die-hard music fans.

The Ads: In a series of four mock documentary commercials, the fictitious roadie Ian Plimsoll is continually amazed by the CDnow online buying service. In one spot, an interviewer mentions Plimsoll can use his computer to "shop from anywhere, 24 hours a day." Plimsoll replies, "I shall need an enormously long extension cord." In another ad, the interviewer explains CDnow offers "everything from Billie Holiday to Baby Face to U2." "Me too?" the confused Plimsoll replies. "If they have a recording of me, they really do have it all."

Comment: Plimsoll thinks he knows just about everything there is to know about music, but the commercials show him something new. Taken as a group (they aired during the Grammys), the ads suggest CDnow has a broad selection and good prices, while smartly avoiding Internet hype. Though the gags are a little obvious, they suit the overall tone of the spots. $$$

*

Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on tastefulness and probable effectiveness, with $$$$ being highest.

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