When a wee Scotsman with a pet anteater moves into your daughter’s backyard playhouse, it might be time to put the playhouse in storage. That’s the premise of one of three new TV ads for Public Storage, the country’s largest self-storage operator.

Public Storage recently started airing new TV commercials produced by Irvine, CA-based marketing agency WundermanWest. The new ads are similar to ones that were produced in 2011, but the weirdness factor has been kicked up several notches.

One of the new ads features an elderly couple trying to store their personal belongings in “the cloud” by hitching a crate to a large balloon, but their attempt fails miserably.

The second spot features a grown adult moving back in with his parents, only to find that his dad has turned his old bedroom into a workout room. The shirtless and overweight father is working out on a 1970s-style machine that causes his blubber to twitch in a rather off-putting way.

Public Storage ad

The third ad features the tiny Scotsman taking up residence in an empty backyard playhouse.

To watch the new commercials, visit Public Storage’s YouTube channel.

Advertising strategy

Spending big bucks on TV ads doesn’t make sense for most self-storage companies, but when you have more than 2,000 facilities nationwide, it does. According to Public Storage’s latest annual report, 71 percent of its revenue comes from the country’s 20 largest metro areas.

From the report:

We believe our market share and concentration in major metropolitan centers makes various promotional and media programs more cost beneficial for us than for our competitors. … We can use television advertising in many markets, while most of our competitors cannot do so cost-effectively.

Public Storage said in the report that it bumps up advertising in particular markets whenever occupancy dips below 90 percent. The company spent 30 percent less on advertising last year than it did the year before, partly because of record-high occupancy rates.

Alexander Harris