Creative ads from Liberty Mutual, others and a blast from the past: Harley Davidson

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Every week I attempt to share a compilation of clutter-breaking creative ads. It is a small gesture to show my appreciation for the creative minds in advertising as I know how difficult it is to produce relevant, interesting work for brands. Unlike the past couple of weeks, I do not have a long list to share this week ending 20 November, 2020.

Liberty Mutual: customise and save

Parity products have it tough. When there’s hardly anything differentiating to say, the pressure is on the advert to provide some distinctiveness to the brand. It could be a fresh perspective of the brand’s benefit (e.g. what Amaron battery did with ‘last long’ proposition) or a unique property which the brand can own (e.g ZooZoos from Vodafone plugging several features). Liberty Mutual has a history of quirky ads and they are back again with a series of absurdly funny ads to drive home a simple point: you can customise home insurance so you only ‘pay for what you need’. The ‘anchor’ to the entire series is a spoof of sorts on advertising itself, claiming that nostalgia, stunts and slapstick comedy helps memorability in ads.

Aside from the 30-seconders I thought the 6-seconders were just brilliantly executed to cue nostalgia and also flag the target audience for such products who would remember dial-up modems and bell-bottoms.

Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GS&P)

Miller Lite: art installations – Farewell, Work Holiday Parties

Year-end Christmas parties were common all these years and so were ads from alcohol brands during this season. This year with such occasions disappearing, how do brands which are part of this routine all these years make compelling ads which aid brand recall? Miller Lite has created a spot of what looks like people frozen in a moment in what looks a boring office party and nicely segues into the proposition ‘here’s to more time with real friends’. The spot is made of art installations which will be on display outdoors at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). According the press release: To bid farewell to the work holiday parties of the past, Miller Lite teamed up with renowned visual artist, Alex Prager, to memorialize their cringiest moments.

Agency: DDB

Bang & Olufsen: crafting memories

During my advertising agency day, I remember attending a workshop on Brand Essence. As part of an exercise, the brand essence of Bang & Olufsen – the high end luxury Danish consumer electronics company  was shared as ‘Crafted for the senses’. I am not sure if it was made up or part of an actual document but it beautifully captured the visual and audio appeal of the brand. It also provides direction to the brand team on ‘no-go’ areas – the brand cannot be seen associated with which is appealing to the senses in a positive way. The legendary brand is celebrating 95 years this year. A touching, beautifully crafted film is part of the campaign. We all associate sounds and fragrances with indelible memories from the past and this plays well into that insight.

Agency: in-house

Woodies: Christmas advert 2020

A DIY store from Ireland, has created a new campaign for Christmas with a do-good theme. The story could also be seen as predictable as the set up gives away the likely denouement. Maybe the attempt was to portray or give a sense of something unpleasant about to happen (like a robbery attempt) but as with many Christmas-themed ads, it conveys the spirit of giving and doing good for others.

Agency: Rothco

Android: Being Human

Apple and Android are the only two horses in the mobile operating system race. Both have played a huge role in how we all live, work & play. Their phones and the ecosystem of apps have spawned many business solving our everyday problems. What we take for granted today – making payments, hailing cabs, making video calls, ordering food and more are enabled by apps. Both the brands have created communication which highlights their role in bringing about this change. A new docuseries from Android highlights 5 such stories.

More on the stories here.

Papa John’s: giving more

When the world zigs, zag’ has been BBH’s motto. A new initiative from Papa John’s follows this approach with a Christmas advert which does away with an emotional story, huge production values and uses the ‘dough’ (tongue firmly in cheek) for charity. Loved the idea.

Harley Davidson: peanuts

“What you make people feel is just as important as what you make” is a voice over in a BMW campaign from 2010. Brands which evoke a fan following and become a cult (football clubs, for example) evoke a feeling beyond a transaction of buying a product or using their service. Harley Davidson is one such cult brand from the US. Among the many legendary ads and campaigns this particular one perhaps best represented what the brand stood for – a feeling of liberation.

Harley Davidson peanuts ad

Agency: Carmichael Lynch

Created in 2001, it is also a reflection of the advertising culture which is perhaps lost in the digital age. As Jim Nelson recounts in this wonderful read:

It came from working with people who put in plenty of hours (we were no strangers to getting home at midnight), but it was because we were trying to make a few epic things instead of cranking out a bunch of inane minutiae to fill out a 160-page deck on a two-day deadline.


Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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