This is an ad for the launch of a new website, apartments.com that, of course, helps people find apartments.

The ad communicates at two levels.  On the surface, the ad is a serious commercial.  And, on the surface, the ad is terrible.  The spokesperson, who says his name is Brad Bellflower, silicon valley maverick, is obviously Jeff Goldblum.  He speaks to camera in a litany of online buzzwords, enough to make viewers wince.  He even coins a painful new word, “apartmenternet” and ends with “Change your apartment.  Change the world.”  Viewers who take the ad as a serious commercial will conclude that apartments.com is lame indeed.

At a second level, the ad ridicules the marketing of online services.  The advertiser apparently hopes that by being obviously and intentionally uncool, apartments.com shows how well it understands its young cynical target and appears cool itself while still getting across its claim to have more apartments than any other site.

At the second level, the ad works.  But a lot of viewers are going to be stuck at the surface.  Apartments.com needs a little more of a wink to signal viewers that the surface level is not the intended level.

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