Humour in advertising for @Setapp and other creative ads of the week [updated]

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Humour is perhaps an under-explored route in advertising. Admittedly, not all categories, causes or objectives maybe be served well by making the ad funny. When it comes to serious subjects, ads which bring a tinge of smile are still ok, but the laugh-out-loud type humour – be it quirky or bizarre is limited to some fun categories such as colas, beer and confectionaries. Among the clutter-breaking creative ads of week ending August 21, 2020 was a campaign for Setapp, among others.

Setapp: Don’t Get Sidetracked

The App Stores on iOS and Mac have millions of apps. Setapp is a subscription based service which offers a curated set of cross-platform apps aimed at helping users solve specific task. The apps include categories such as Productivity, Maintenance, Mac Hacks and so on. A new campaign distills the benefit of a select few apps curated for specific tasks, as an antidote for getting sidetracked. The plots are exaggerated but help in engagement and driving home the point about the perils of being distracted.

Agency: Droga5, London

The ads work because we can all relate to succumbing to distractions all the time – be it a phone all, a notification or some inane content on social media.

Mucinex: back to normal is up to you

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered several types of advertising: exhorting people to stay indoors, practice social distancing or wear masks for protection is one among them. A few campaigns had a tenuous link to the product category and the brand. Mucinex, a cold & flue brand in the US has a second campaign urging people to practice safety measures. The first one conveyed the message that those who stay indoors are real heroes, with visual play of super hero characters. A new campaign taps into the yearning we all have for things to get back to normal – but reminding us that it can happen faster if we all wear masks.

Agency: McCann Health

Who said healthcare advertising is boring? For both the campaigns the illustrations have been done by Noma Bar an Israel-born graphic designer, illustrator and artist. See more of his work here.

Kruger: unapologetically human

Ad agency folks consider a few categories as ‘boring’. But once in a while they do prove that such conceptions are misplaced. They find a way to make everyday, mundane categories worthy of attention and mind space thanks to the advertising. Also, I find advertising fascinating because of its ability to make connections where none seemingly exist. A new ad for Kruger Products, a Canadian manufacturer of tissue brands makes a compelling proposition: being human is messy and that’s OK – Kruger’s range will be there to clean up things. The toilet paper and tissues category is a big one not just in terms of size but advertising efforts & spends too. The category advertising has seen a lot of cliches to cue softness – puppies, babies and so on. It’s great to see a real, relatable interpretation of the product use in a ‘master advertising’ format for the range.

Agency: Broken Heart Love Affair

Tanishq Jewellery: An Ode to the Vighnahartas in Our Lives

The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is hugely popular in India. It celebrates the arrival of a god who is believed to be the ‘remover of obstacles’ by the faithful. That association is weaved in smartly in a new ad for Tanishq Jewellery by setting the context of three old men thanking someone who removed obstacles for them during the periods of recent lockdown. The casting and small touches like a gent’s muffled voice through the mask, a mask dangling on a ear and the final reference to old bachelors make it more endearing.

Agency: Mullen Lowe Lintas

Playstation: play has no limits

I am not a gamer but even I could relate to the world that is being sought to be portrayed in this ad for Playstation. An immersive experience anchored on product features such haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, and 3D audio is conveyed with finesse.

Agency: adam&eveDDB

New York Times: Life needs truth

In continuation of its ‘The Truth is Essential’ campaign, The New York Times has released ‘Life Needs Truth’ ad. It might seem like another montage set to music but it’s a clever, riveting ad made of headlines from the daily capturing how the NYT taps into people’s lives. The paper has its fair share of detractors in markets like India as it is seen as biased. But there’s no denying that in terms of design and presentation in all formats they are among the best.

Agency: Droga5

After I published the last version of the post, I came across a few more clutter breaking creative ads.

Asian Paints Tractor Emulsion Shyne: show off

‘Looks deceptively expensive’ as a proposition for affordable brands offers many creative possibilities. I remember a hilarious ads from Thailand for a watch with this idea. Here’s one from Asian Paints with some great casting and acting by the kids.

Agency: Ogilvy

Cadbury: Milkman

I love it when advertising manages to tell a story and convey deep emotions in a short span of 20 seconds. In continuation of its ‘Thank you‘ campaign a new series of spots highlight the reaction of folks who have received a Cadbury Dairy Milk in unexpected situations. The ads strike a chord because we have all felt grateful  for the efforts of many during the recent lockdown period. 

Agency: Ogilvy

Tata Tea: #DeshKaKulhad

Most brands commit to occasion led advertising, such as Independence Day ads due to FOMO – that a competition brand will advertise and they will be left out. Moreover, the tribute, message or activation has a tenuous link to the brand or category. Sometimes, it all seems forced. Here’s a campaign which is hardwired to the brand, the category and makes business sense. 

Tata Tea has variants catering to various regions of the country and their advertising has reflected that. Here’s a campaign not just limited to ads this Independence Day. India Ki Chai is a portal which sells earthen cups (kulhads), pen stands and more which will support local artisans. 

Agency: Ogilvy

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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1 Comment

  1. Awiral Grover Reply

    I loved the ‘Unapologetically Human’ advertisement by Kruger products. It is raw, primal and of course, filled with an utter humanness that speaks to the audience. The concept of normalizing the culture of making mistakes, getting emotional, and various other little things in the ad is worthy of praise. The visual communication is also quite effective.

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