One of my earliest lessons in advertising strategy was about correctly defining one’s competition: an amusement park’s competition isn’t necessarily another amusement park but other avenues of ‘fun’. Amtrak’s new campaign in the US promises a better way to travel as compared to air or road. The promise of cellular connection in the train, no middle seat or traffic snarls and extra baggage are the benefits highlighted. Loved the series.
Agency: FCB, New York
2. Cigna: TV Doctors of America
Prevention is better than cure goes the proverb. Cigna, the insurance brand is on ‘a mission to help save 100,000 lives by getting more Americans to get their annual check?ups’. The creative execution is clever – getting popular TV actors who have played the role of doctors to urge viewers to see a ‘real doctor’.
Agency: McCann NY
3. Stranger Things – posters
Just ahead of second season of Stranger Things (due for release in October), Netflix has created a series of posters which pay homage to cult sci-fi and horror movies from the 1980s. These include Alien, The Evil Dead, The Running Man and A Nightmare on Elm Street. What’s so great about these posters? It is a clever way to create buzz and get talked about in media.
See the full list here.
4. Cat Treats
Portrayal of pets like dogs and cats evokes the usual ‘oh, so sweet!’ reaction from most viewers. Here’s an ad for Deli-Catz which does that for sure but with a wicked twist in the end.
5. Singapore Wellness Association: sideways growth charts
‘Which way is your child growing?’ is a powerful, show-stopper of a question posed to parents in the context of obesity in children. These set of posters for the Singapore Wellness Association are visually striking and thought provoking. Parents are familiar with growth charts in clinics and this simple change in orientation drives home the point creating awareness about obesity.
Agency: McCann Health
6. iPhone X
The ads for iPhone have largely focused on a particular feature and dramatised it’s benefit. For example, the portrait mode on iPhone 7 Plus was the focus of this ad where the subject is on focus, making the busy city ‘disappear’ as it were. In the case of iPhone X they had to convey a list of features and did it without making it sound like a laundry list of tech specs. Loved the way everything from music to video to text come together to create a ‘wow’ response about the phone (well, to a large section of the potential consumers). It is a good thing that Apple turns off comments over at YouTube as such videos are sure to lead to fan wars.
7. McDonald’s: Open Late
‘What is the one thing we want to say?’ is a question in every ad agency brief format. The attempt is to focus on saying just one thing – as the consumer is not capable of ‘receiving’ more than that. The focus of these posters was to convey that McDonald’s are open late – the execution does a great job.
8. MaraNatha: #TooGoodForJelly
While the Amtrak ads took on competition in the form of airlines and road travel, an almond butter brand called MaraNatha takes on jelly (since peanut butter & jelly is so common in the US) . So ‘no jelly required on your toast’ was turned into #TooGoodForJelly and some fun TV spots and print ads were developed.
9. Malabar: give in to temptation
It’s always nice to see an ad which is different (yet relevant) in a category which is full of ads with ‘category codes’. Reminded me a bit of the Harvey Nichols ‘Spent it on myself’ ads though.
10. Flipkart: The Big Billion Days
The kids have been around for a while now in Flipkart ads. The challenge is to keep the ads fresh and not allow for staleness to set in – else it will be just another bunch of kids dressed as adults mouthing dialogues. The plot, writing and production values play a big role in keeping the interest alive. These new spots for Flipkart score high on those counts. Wonder how these work in regional languages – mere translation (literal ones usually) would be a pity but that’s a perennial problem in pan-India advertising.
Agency: Mullen Lowe Lintas
11. Mack trucks: Born Ready
The idea of a ‘music video as an ad’ is not new. A new ad from Mack – the iconic trucks in the US is a song from country music artist Steve Moakler. The song, with the same tagline as the brand is “an American road song dedicated to the hardworking drivers of the highway”.
Which one was your favourite? Comment in.