Christopher Guest is one of the funnier humans to set foot on either side of a movie camera. Waiting For Guffman, A Mighty Wind, and Best In Show are all near-perfect comedies, and his on-screen work in This Is Spinal Tap and The Princess Bride are among the most memorable performances of the 80’s. And when directing commercials, Guest’s resume has other highlights (like when a pre-disgrace Lance Armstrong screams at Zach Woods to “feed the warrior twenty pounds!” for Nike) that demonstrate how well his talents translate into the realm of advertising.
That’s something that Bank of America was likely hoping to tap into with its new campaign for the Preferred Rewards program, which tapped Guest to direct and, er, Billy Idol (as himself) to star in a meta-series in which BofA execs try to figure out the best way to promote the program. Things start out funny and improvisational with wacky brainstorms in a Dunder Mifflin-esque conference room:
Ultimately, the gang settles on hiring Billy Idol to promote Preferred Rewards, because one of his famous songs includes the words “more, more, more,” and presumably because his cameo in The Wedding Singer was really funny 15 years ago. Taken as a whole, the campaign is pretty funny–the bumbling execs struggling to interact with Billy Idol is a good setup, and a bummed-out Billy Idol reacting as they make dumb “more, more, more”-related requests ought to work.
But as independent commercials without context, watching rando people in suits ask Billy Idol to say “more, more, more” until he gets rude doesn’t quite carry the same effect. It’s not enough to dampen our enthusiasm for Guest’s forthcoming Netflix series Mascots, but it does make us reexamine our previous assumption that the arrival of Billy Idol in a given scene equals comedy gold.