Every day we come across hundreds of commercial messages. Only a handful are memorable. Here are a few top creative ads which caught my eye, the week ending 16th March, 2018: a new commercial for Incredible India, a lovely animated film for Travel Oregon and more.
1. Incredible India: the Yogi of the RaceTrack
Consumers know that advertising exaggerates. No one seriously believes that spraying on a particular brand of perfume or chewing a gum will guarantee success in life – whether it is acing an interview or impressing someone. Deep down consumers know that the advertiser is merely exaggerating the feel-good factor or a feeling of confidence. However, when it comes to tourism advertising, consumers are unlikely to indulge in ‘suspension of disbelief’- they expect the travel experience to be close to the promise made. A destination typically conjures up residual imagery and the advertising serves to lock in or accentuate that perception. Also, while the advertising may promise a great experience, it takes more than just government officials to fulfil that promise – it takes the efforts of the common man too. ‘Incredible India’ has been the theme to promote the country abroad. The diversity of the country in every which way – be it scenery, travel experiences, language, cuisine lends credibility to the claim. The past versions have dramatised this diversity in a generic way and it has resulted in some great advertising.
A new version of the theme ad seems to focus on one aspect of India – yoga and tells the story of a racing pro who ‘found himself’ in the country. The Prime Minister of India also shared the video in his Twitter feed.
Agency: McCann, India
2. Macy’s: The Chase
Fashion choices aren’t rational. Most consumers simply like a particular merchandise based on their individual tastes (and budget of course). Very often a merchandise we like literally makes us stop in our tracks. A new TVC from Macy’s captures this behaviour. The choice of track (‘One way or another’ by Blondie) fits in very well with the idea.
Agency: BBDO, NY
3. Travel Oregon
As with the Incredible India advert above, most tourism adverts promise a great experience. In doing so, they could fall into the ‘sea of sameness’ trap with breathtaking images of nature being a common theme. Tourism Australia did something different recently though, though it too was anchored on a unique experience as a promise. A new advert from Travel Oregon attempts to break through the clutter by taking the idea to the extreme: painting a magical, mythical world with a self-deprecating ‘Only Slightly Exaggerated’ tag line. The tone of voice which admits that even though Oregon is a great place to visit the portrayal is an exaggeration shine through (‘Based on actual events. More or less.’ is the description over at YouTube. The animation style also lends itself very well to the portrayal of a magical, surreal world.
4. The Lost Night: New Zealand Health Promotion Agency
The New Zealand Health Promotion Agency has created a campaign to highlight the dangers of excessive drinking. I loved it because is based on relatable consumer behaviour and the execution is spot on for the target audience. The morning after a bout of excessive drinking is usually filled with remorse and a hazy memory of what actually happened the previous night. The film dramatises the pointlessness of trying to have an epic night out if one is too drunk to savour it or even remember it.
5. THINK! – drunk driving
The messaging about drunk driving has stopped being generic and focused on specific actions to be taken (asking for a cab, assigning a designated driver etc.). A new film in the UK focused on how to stop a friend from drink driving in an amusing but effective execution.
6. Gundersen Health Systems: Love + Medicine
I came across these sweet ads for a health brand which conveys ‘love + medicine’ work together.
Agency: Preston Kelly
7. Fevicol Ezee Spray
Demonstration of product efficacy is dramatised in many different ways in advertising. Here’s a fresh new take on it for Fevicol’s spray variant. This one works in Hindi with the play of words on ‘ladki’ and ‘lakdi’ but wonder how it is handled in other Indian languages.
8. Phone Pe:stepping out
Several app-based utility payment brands have become popular in India, with Phone Pe being one of them. All of them make bill payments convenient. So how does a brand convey a parity feature interestingly? A new spot from Phone Pe is based on an insight: husbands love stepping out of the house on some excuse. The writing and casting is spot on.
Agency: Lowe Lintas
9. Star Reimagine
The Indian Premier League (IPL) is often compared with the Super Bowl event in the US. While IPL is clearly the premier sporting event in India, the way advertisers treat Super Bowl is vastly different. Some of the ways in which the two are different:
– the Super Bowl is as much an advertising event as a sporting event; the IPL is considered premium property and a great advertising opportunity but it not an ‘advertising event’ in the league of Super Bowl ads as yet
– even though the Super Bowl event lasts only for a few hours, the advertising campaigns linked to the event last for a month or even longer; such a campaign does not exist as yet, with the IPL
– advertisers craft special campaigns for Super Bowl, often spending millions in production; in contrast, IPL is seen as an opportunity to run short edits of a thematic ad for great visibility
– Super Bowl ads are heavily promoted in paid & unpaid media prior to the event – advertisers see value in the publicity generated. Bizarre plot lines, humour, celebrity casting are common talking points in media
Both the events offer a platform for relatively unknown brands to be catapulted into the limelight. In this context it is great to see Star India initiate an award to reward good creative work aired during the IPL telecast. The ad to announce the award taps into the need of the creative mind to be recognised and celebrated.
10. F1: Engineered Insanity
As far as baselines go, it is always the short, crisp ones which are memorable. The great ones among them capture the essence of the brand and make it unique and relevant only for that brand (‘It’s Miller time!’ cannot work for any other beer brand). In that context, I loved ‘Engineered Insanity’ as the summation and tag line for the Formula 1.
Agency: W+K London
11. RxBar: packaging
The importance of packaging was highlighted in the ‘first moment of truth’ (FMOT) concept, promoted by P&G. The premise is that what the consumer sees on the shelf – the packaging and what it conveys is the first exposure of the brand to the consumer. Hence, there was a lot of emphasis on retail display and packaging graphics. In the digital world, perhaps Google’s concept of ‘Zero moment of truth’ makes more sense as the consumer forms an opinion based on what she sees on search results and user reviews. Nevertheless the importance of packaging in influencing consumer decisions and affecting the fortunes of a brand is real. Very often it is dismissed as just graphic design and marketers are reluctant to pay top dollar for strategic design thinking and creative chops.
Reading up about RxBar: $2mn sales in 2014; $130mn in 2017. Business took off after packaging re-design in 2015. Sold to Kellogg for $600mn. Loved the #design idea and execution https://t.co/4wDUqcyomh via @thosemcquades pic.twitter.com/iNuizIk9By
— bhatnaturally ? (@bhatnaturally) March 12, 2018
Branding agency The McQuades worked on the visual identity design which helped the brand stand out in the shelves. Read more about it here.
Agency: The McQuades
12. Chase Zreet: Covering Letter
If an advert does not pass the noticeability test, everything else is academic. Job seekers in advertising too have to go through this test, having to make their CV or portfolio stand out. Many moons ago, in an attempt to seek the attention of an ad agency CEO, I sent a covering letter offering him a job (as my boss, of course!). While that was corny, this covering letter from copywriter Chase Zreet to W+k is way too cool.
13. iPhone X: Unlock
Apple’s laser sharp focus on product features and benefits is worthy of emulation even in non-tech categories. In terms execution, ‘if only other things in life worked as well as…’ is a tried and tested route to dramatise a benefit. Works brilliantly to showcase FaceID on iPhone X.
Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.