Rumpled spokesmen: New PR & marketing trend?

by PR Coach

Ad & PR trend: rumpled spokesmen

Are rumpled spokesmen like ‘Trivago Guy’ a new marketing & PR trend?

It’s official. Rumpled really is right in style!

At least you’d be correct in thinking so if three high-profile, heavy rotation TV commercials are any indication.

The TV ads from, Liberty Mutual, and each feature unlikely and atypical spokespeople who remind us more of Columbo, Humphrey Bogart, Jack Nicholson or Lucy Arnaz.

Is this a new wave in rumpled spokesmen?

First,, a German online travel search engine company whose 30-sec TV spots promise to help you find the perfectly-priced hotel room among hundreds of other competing discount hotel search websites.

It’s an irresistible pitch. Save time and money. That is, if you trust “The Trivago Guy” who Troy Patterson calls “the least interesting guy in the world” in a most entertaining Slate article:

“Just look at this guy. The voice is deep with command, round with Shatnerian ham gravity, rich with a Peter Graves graininess. The eyes are beseeching but confidently steady. The clothes have been woken up in. The man is seedily creased, grayly stubbled, distractingly beltless. He may be looking for a hotel after coming home at 3 a.m. to find that his wife changed the locks. These unusual ads have been attracting baffled notice for a while, but now is the season for big travel-industry ad buys, and the Trivago pitchman is, unlike the blades of his rotary shaver, in heavy rotation.”

What’s not to like, trust and relate to with this Everyman pitch?

Liberty Mutual “blindsides” us

Meanwhile, over at Liberty Mutual, right in front the Statue of Liberty, another Rumpelstiltskin tells us that we can avoid being blindsided by other insurance companies.

Want to save up to $423? Get first accident forgiveness? Full new car replacement value plus depreciation? Not a problem!

All we have to do is trust Liberty Mutual instead of all the other price-gouging, unforgiving, demented depreciation-driven, fast-talking insurance company competitors.

Liberty Mutual TV ad spokesmanOh, and you’ll have to trust their rumpled spokesman as well.

He earnestly implores us to trust Liberty when:

“Out of nowhere a pickup truck slams into your new car. One second it wasn’t there. The next second – Boom! You had your first accident. Now you had to make your first claim. So you talk to your insurance company and – Boom! You’re blindsided for a second time!”

You can almost see the elbow patches on his grey, Mister Rogers-like cardigan and baggy, beltless blue jeans.

In fact, he looks like an exhausted, stay-at-home Dad who’s running late to pick up the kids from daycare, grab some KFC and get home just in time to put dinner on the table for his wife, a Wall Street executive.

How can you not trust his insurance advice? goes for the bleachers

Then there’s and its relentless TV spots. You know. The online auctions website where you can buy anything at up to “95% off.”

They get the final award in this trilogy of rumpled spokespeople.

They go way over the top with Barbara, Melody and Roseanna, their crazy-aunt, slightly-klepto, shopaholic spokespeople.

Barbara’s full of erratic energy. Breathless and bristling with buyer bonhomie. She just can’t wait to tell us how much stuff she was able to buy.

“In my first four months on DealDash I won over 104 auctions!” Barbara enthuses.

Roseanna waves her hands and declares “I got all this for less than $50 at…. And shipping is always free.”

Forget the Shopping Channel. We’ve got

There’s just one problem. In order to save the thousands of dollars these folks are probably spending many hundreds of dollars or more on junk they don’t need.

Deal Dash TV ads

Roseanna scores stuff at

I mean really. Is Roseanna really going to play the guitar? Does she really know how to use a tablet? Has she room on her kitchen counter for 19 different blenders, juicers, toasters, microwaves, kitchen appliances and a fly fishing rod?

Oh and Barbara? 104 bids won and products shipped in four months? That’s more than one product every work day!

It’s time for a call to Shopper’s Anonymous.

I wonder if the writers, producers and the client realize how desperate this all sounds?

Take a look at the DashDeal spot and see if you agree?

Rumpled Rules

Humphrey Bogart, John Huston

The anti-heroes Humphrey Bogart, John Huston

I wonder if this trend will spill over into PR too?

Next thing you know, we’ll be seeing Wall Street CEOs, investment pitchmen, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and President Obama appearing all Rumpelstiltskin in Bermuda shorts and flip-flops.

Somehow rumpled doesn’t have the dignity, credibility and gravitas we expect from our spokespeople.

But in the world of advertising and dot-coms, anything goes.

The possibilities are exciting. Just stumble out of bed. Camera rolling, mumble and voila. Impact. Someone the Everyman or woman can relate to.

Of course the creatives on Madison Avenue may be forgetting the key question. Is it working? Time will tell.

In the meantime, stay tuned. More rumpled spokesmen should be coming your way soon.

Love to hear your comments on rumpled spokespeople below. Like ’em? Trust them? Make you want to buy? I think I’ll stick to content marketing.

Author: Jeff Domansky

Visuals: –, Liberty Mutual, DashDeal –

Previous post:

Next post: