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Ad of the Day: PayPal


Buying stuff on the Internet is easy and safe with PayPal, says Jeff Goldblum.

The actor-comedian stars in four entertaining new online spots from ad agency Publicis & Hal Riney as part of the Web checkout service's first national campaign, touting Paypal's convenience and security. The ads are simple, featuring Goldblum speaking straight to the camera, emphasizing his points with a frenetic cadence and energetic hand gestures. That twitchy delivery plays up the tongue-in-cheek neurotic humor that aims to be the campaign's linchpin. "I'm paranoid, just kidding, but really, I'm kinda paranoid," it says, in so many words—as Goldblum communicated faux wonder at the fundamentally mundane fact that it's possible to make purchases online without intrinsically exposing oneself to dangerous financial predators.

That may seem off the mark to younger people who take the safety of online transactions in general—and PayPal, a familiar brand, in particular—for granted. But the ads are clearly aimed at consumers of a certain age who are wary of the entire notion of parting with their info online—and more generally, of breaking familiar habits. The scripts, and Goldblum's performance, make a pretty big deal out of pretty small things, like getting flustered over needing to take a credit card out of a wallet—an act that's not really that annoying, especially when trying to use a credit card to buy something. In other words, Goldblum is speaking to the caricature of a mom who's the basis for all jokes about moms not having any idea what's going on with their computers.

Overall, it's something of a reprise for Goldblum, who once upon a time did more or less exactly the same thing as a spokesman for Apple's iMac. A decade or so later, it seems like an appropriate strategy for PayPal—the company is re-articulating its core business to reach late adopters while it also expands to compete in the mobile-payments space (a fact Goldblum alludes to only in passing, but the brand can emphasize elsewhere).

It's disappointing though, that they didn't raid more from Apple. "It's as easy as, uh, you know, licking a stamp" would have been a good line to steal, if anyone still used stamps. Maybe "It's as easy as, uh, you know, taking out a credit card" would have done the trick.

Client: PayPal
Agency: Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco
Chief Creative Officer: Kevin Roddy
Creative Directors: Mark Sweeney, Erin Alvo
Copywriter: Mark Sweeney
Art Director: Erin Alvo
Producer: Debbie Chin

Website Creative:
Creative Director: Paige Grossman
Copywriter: Alex Atkinson
User Experience: James Herrera
Producer: Dora Lee

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