Hilarious ads for Amazon Alexa’s ‘Ironing’, ‘Opera’ and more: creative ads of the week

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Every week (OK, almost every week) I try to share a compilation of clutter-breaking creative ads. This week, I came across couple of funny ads for Amazon Alexa and some compelling ads for Nike, McDonald’s and more.

Amazon Alexa: ‘Ironing’ and ‘Opera’

Among the basics of advertising is to figure out the difference between ‘feature’ and ‘benefit’. As I have said in an earlier post, effective ads bring alive the benefit of a feature. Sometimes, the benefits of a feature may not be immediately apparent to consumers, especially if it is a new category. Also we can confuse a feature for a benefit:

Zero calorie chocolate is a feature. Guilt-free indulgence is a benefit.

Blazing fast broadband is a feature. Ability to complete your favourite tasks in an uninterrupted manner is a feature.

However, all features may not be unique to a brand, given parity products in any category. In a couple of new ads for Alexa, features such as voice commands (which are generic in that category) are brought alive in couple of hilarious ads conveying ‘control’ of the entertainment experience whether it is a simple task of rewind or adding a song to a playlist.

Agency: Droga5

McDonald’s: Books

The ad industry is tasked to create ads for product categories that can be grouped under ‘unhealthy’: from sugared water to addictive junk food. Some choose not to sign up categories such as tobacco (where allowed) or alcoholic beverages. But whatever be the category, the intent is to produce creative which gives a compelling reason brand consideration. Anchoring the message on a unique product feature or when such a benefit is not available the option is to tell a story – dramatising an almost matter-of-fact aspect of the product offering is a tough ask. TBWA Paris has accomplished that task with aplomb with a great interpretation and visually stunning production of the message: McDonald’s Happy Meal comes with story books. The riveting film ties it up with the line ‘sharing a story is like sharing an adventure’.

KitKat: 85th anniversary

Distinctive brand assets are a great competitive advantage for enterprises. Nike’s swoosh and the tag line, ‘Just Do It’, the arch of McDonald’s are a couple of top-of-the-mind examples. Such assets could include audio mnemonics, a colour or a tag line (which are going out of fashion). But these take years of consistent investment and creative efforts to build and take advantage of. Also, having such a distinctive asset alone is not a guarantee for market success. Remember Kodak? It had the distinctive ‘Kodak yellow’ but failed at the marketplace for other reasons.

Among the classics which played a big role in the brand’s success would be ‘Have a break, have a KitKat’ property which weaved in the product form (the way it was meant to be eaten – by breaking it) and the benefit of having a break. They have taken the idea forward in many ways over the years. For it’s 85th anniversary they have anchored the idea into a promotion by a giving a ‘break’ to the tag line itself.

Agency: Wunderman Thompson

Nike: You Can’t Stop Our Voice

Brand activism – where a brand roots for a cause or takes a position on a societal issue, has become a common feature in advertising of late. Not all brands can pull it off without antagonising a section of the audience in the social media age.

The problem with this approach is that it takes “brand purpose” into an area where it is bound to be buffeted by commercial considerations. So, if the zeitgeist changes or if the way the brand’s purpose is pursued antagonizes too many people, as the recent Tanishq ad did, it is surrendered too easily and the brand is affected immeasurably.

The assured safety of ‘world peace’ as a brand purpose

Nike continues to tread down this path with an ad urging US citizens to vote. It’s a well-written ad weaving the recent ‘You can’t stop us‘ theme.

Volvo: a million more

Did you know that in 1959, Volvo invented the modern three-point seat belt but decided to leave the patent open, making it available to all vehicle manufacturers to use for free? The brand has strong associations of safety since then which they have nurtured through product and communication. Another interesting piece of information, thanks to a new ad from Volvo is that there was severe opposition to the idea of a seat belt when it was first introduced. It then wonderfully juxtaposes such snippets with stories of people being saved thanks to their seat belt. Loved it.

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors

Instagram Reels: Do your own thing

Since the ban on TikTok in India several brands are trying to own the space of DIY fun videos on your phone. The proposition – be it Josh (from Daily Hunt) or Reels from Instagram is the same: fast, fun videos. Both have adopted the ‘show and tell’ approach but the ones from Reels seem to evoke a smile and get that ‘it’ll be fun if I can do that too’.

Agency: Ogilvy

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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