Letgo's New Ads From Droga5 Make a Good Case for Why We Don't Barter Anymore

What, you don't take truck?

Droga5 lends its magic to letgo, a fast-growing app for buying and selling stuff locally. The result is "Live and letgo" (cute wordplay, thar!), which went live today with three ads where people try paying for stuff ... with other stuff. 

The ads are directed by Adult Swim's Tim and Eric (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim). Tim and Eric's whole thing is awkward comedy whose strength often draws from the sense there's something vaguely off, a banal situation floating almost imperceptibly toward the surreal. 

Is it try-too-hardy, or are people unusually zoned-out? Did something terrible just happen? It's hard to know. Anyway, that elusive scent is captured perfectly here. 

In "Rounds," a man tries paying for a round of drinks by placing a lawnmower right on top of the bar. But the bartender's seen that trick before.

letgo | Rounds

"Ring" takes the same conceit and ups the ante. This time, a man tries paying for a diamond ring with his truck, which … well, you might as well watch it. It's nice that he says sorry. 

letgo | Ring

And in "Checking In," a matriarch tries paying for a hotel's best room with the ol' grand piano. 

letgo | Checking In

The campaign's been positioned as a way to preach the gospel of "less stuff, more living." That's a timely message, now that Netflix has transformed Marie Kondo into an epidemic. A case can be made for people holding onto stuff they otherwise wouldn't because they should sell it, and doing that isn't as quick-and-dirty as, say, Tinder. 

Letgo, on the other hand, makes it look just that easy. This is achieved in the choice of who ultimately orchestrates the sale: In each case, it's the vendor refusing the used (but valuable) good. They suggest selling it to the dense barterers before them, then pretty much can't be bothered to explain further, so they take a pic and bam! Money. 

"The idea behind 'Live and letgo' is that the guitar you haven't touched since college could easily be a flight to Miami with your best friend, and the skis you never needed anyway could be pottery classes," explains letgo cofounder Alec Oxenford. "A typical home is overflowing with thousands of dollars in extra stuff that just sits there—unused, unloved and unenjoyed. We're helping people discover the potential in all those things to fund new, more fulfilling experiences." 

That philosophy also coincides with research that finds millennials care more about experiences than stuff, and we've all got too much of the latter. What's more, the act of getting rid of stuff can be an enriching experience in itself: In a survey, letgo found that two-thirds of respondents found purging belongings made them feel free, and more optimistic and confident.

Targeted to the right people at the right time—say, during Adult Swim—this will probably land great. Otherwise, if you're encountering the ads at random and don't know the work is a Tim and Eric joint, the campaign could feel overshot and twee. (And this early in the morning, it's way too meta to acknowledge we're supposed to feel this way, and enjoy that feeling ironically as if it's a fine smoky bourbon, because that's the whole point. Don't ask us to do it. We're not gonna do it.) 

But "Live and letgo" does the job of showing how easy it is to use the service, and that's fine. The app launched in 2015, and uses real-time image recognition and video listings to make selling second-hand stuff feel as easy as flagging an Uber. This on its own is a stronger focal point than the whole "get rid of more stuff" thing, which the tagline, current trends and the overall mood of millennials facilitates anyway. 

The campaign rolled out nationwide and follows good news for its mother brand: Letgo recently raised $500 million in Naspers funding, and passed the 100 million downloads mark. Good job, everybody, good job.

Client: letgo
Campaign: Live & letgo
Title: Rounds, Checking In, Ring 
Launch Date: 14-Jan
Agency: Droga5 NY
Founder and Creative Chairman: David Droga
Chief Creative Officer: Neil Heymann
Executive Creative Director: Scott Bell
Creative Director: Ryan Raab
Copywriter: Caroline Ekrem 
Art Director: Castro Desroches 
Copywriter: Chase Kimball 
Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale 
Director of Film Production: Jesse Brihn
Senior Producer, Film: Topher Cochrane 
Producer, Film: Kelly Appleton 
Director of Business Affairs: Jocelyn Howard 
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Shaunda Slade 
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
Head of Strategy: Harry Román-Torres 
Head of Digital Strategy: George Bennett 
Strategy Director: Ryan McDaid 
Chief Media Officer: Colleen Leddy
Head of Communications Strategy: Dean Challis 
Communications Strategy Director: Elizabeth Hartley 
Communications Strategist: Emily Langham 
Group Data Strategy Director: Anthony Khaykin 
Group Account Director: Julia Albu
Account Director: Jordan Cappadocia 
Account Manager: Chelsea Elliott 
Senior Project Manager: Ashlee Cain
Senior Project Manager: Laura Rothman 
Legal: Sarah Fox
Client: letgo
Lucia Varela: VP of Brand and Communication 
Federico Rucks: VP of Media
Fernando Barretto: Brand Director
Alexandra Franco: Research and Insights Director
Tom VanBuren: Copywriter
Adi Schlank: Designer
Dylan Stopper: Senior Media Planning Manager
Production Company: Pretty Bird
Director: Tim & Eric 
Executive Producer: Suzanne Hargrove 
Head of Production: Rika Osenberg 
Line Producer: Bernard Rahill
Editorial: Exile
Editor: Kyle Brown 
Assistant Editor: Mitch Goldberg 
Executive Producer: Sasha Hirschfeld 
Producer: Evyn Bryce
Flame Artist: Dino Tsaousis 
Motion GFX / Flame Asst: Adam Greenberg
Color: Company3
Senior Colorist: Tim Masick 
Producer: Kevin Breheny
Sound: Heard City
Mixer: Elizabeth McClanahan 
Producer: Andi Lewis
Music: APM, Extreme Music

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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