Every week I attempt to share clutter-breaking creative ads. The common thread across all such ads are that they are single-minded, entertaining (or make for a compelling watch if having a serious message) and anchored on a relevant idea. Here are a few recent including a select from few meant for this year’s Super Bowl:
Tourism New Zealand: travelling under social influence
At the time of writing, temporary border measures are in place in New Zealand. According to the official tourism website, ‘to slow the spread of COVID-19, the New Zealand Government has put in place temporary border restrictions which prevent most travellers from entering New Zealand‘.
In this context, comes a well-thought out campaign aimed at getting New Zealanders to discover new tourist spots within the country and doing so without succumbing to social media trends. The second objective is linked to propensity among some to imitate pictures taken by social media influencers at popular landmarks or scenic spots, often placing themselves in danger (e.g. standing in the middle of a highway or perched at the top of a cliff to take a picture). ‘Travelling Under the Social Influence’ is a brilliant idea to meet these objectives, as comedian Thomas Sainsbury plays the role of a ranger who spots tourists who need to be stopped.
Domino’s UK: frazzled dad
There’s a certain ritual associated with ordering in food through apps: we scan several options but often end up choosing a ‘tried-and-tested’ on. And when it involves family members or groups ‘order whatever you like’ is usually a starting point only to reject all the options offered. Our favourite restaurant or dish then becomes the safest option to choose. Pizzas are almost always the safe option and a new spot from Domino’s in the UK is anchored on this observation. Loved the disaster scenarios projected when ordering from a fancy place.
Paramount Plus: mountain of entertainment
The logo and brand ident of Paramount Pictures are likely etched in the memory of anyone who has watched a few Hollywood films, especially blockbusters such as Titanic and Mission Impossible. Founded in 1916, the brand is is the fifth oldest film studio in the world and the second oldest film studio in the United States.
According to Logaster, ‘the 24 stars that form a circle over the mountain stand for 24 actors who signed their contracts with the film studio first’. In the US, the brand is all set for a big bang launch of its streaming service called Paramount + with a series of ads during the weekend’s Super Bowl. I loved how such a distinctive asset is being put to use in the launch communication by cleverly weaving it to all the content which will be available there – ‘the new mountain of entertainment’. Various celebrities and characters such as Dora the Explorer, Beavis and Butt-Head and SpongeBob SquarePants make their way to the mountain which is their new ‘home’.
Huggies: welcome to the world, baby
A 30-second ad reportedly costs $5.5 million to air on this year’s Super Bowl. Despite the high cost (and increasing every year) advertisers who choose to be on that brand property, still see it as great value for money. The production costs of films meant for the event are also likely to be high as most of them use celebrities or have mind-boggling production values. Brands also spend on promoting the teaser or the actual spot on social and mainstream media. The resultant visibility and ‘buzz’ must be helping brands meet two goals: creating awareness and strengthening brand affinity. One can observe a similar pattern with IPL too as the sponsors include both new age brands such as Dream 11, CRED and a few legacy brands.
Huggies will be the first diaper brand to ever advertise on Super Bowl. They plan to air a 30-second spot in the second quarter featuring babies born that very day, a first for both the company and the broadcast itself. There is also another ad, which is a teaser of sorts (as its rather lengthy) announcing the big day. I loved the montage and copywriting – not taking for granted the fact that featuring babies usually gains viewer attention.
However, as AdAge points out, there are points to ponder. The category target audience – parents of new borns & toddlers can be reached through less expensive niche media. So there must be another solid reason for the splurge.
GM: No way Norway
Here’s a Super Bowl ad which ticks all the right boxes – celebrity, humour and an over-the-top premise. 54% of new vehicles sold in Norway are electric and they sell more such cars, per capita than the US. This agitates our protagonist, Will Ferrell who pledges to beat Norway in the EV game. Good fun. Meanwhile, his reaching Sweden and his team arriving in Finland, instead of Norway tells another story.
Audi Norway: don’t hate, imitate
This must rank as a great example of competitive advertising. Reacting swiftly to the GM campaign featuring Will Ferrel, shown above, Audi Norway has released a campaign featuring Norwegian and Game of Thrones star, Kristoffer Hivju. I loved the ‘Don’t hate, imitate’ premise and the reiteration of ‘world’s leading electric vehicle country’.
Agency: Pol, Oslo
Virgin Media: Faster brings us closer
Among broadband players, the benefit of lightning fast speeds has been depicted as getting things done quickly or enjoying uninterrupted entertainment such as videos. A new ad from Virgin Media in the UK, offers a slightly different take. The COVID-19 pandemic has made broadband a necessity as many adopt to the reality of everything. So the ‘faster brings us closer’ resonated with me as also the featuring of a different kind of protagonists: gamers.
T-Mobile: Tom Brady & Rob Gronkowski – 5G
I was not familiar with the background of two American sports celebrities featured in the ad for T-Mobile. Yet I loved the basic premise – buffering during a video call (which we have all experienced) may distort a message.
M&M’S Super Bowl 2021: Come Together
‘Social lubricant’ is a term often heard in ad agencies. It refers to a product (usually food and beverage) that helps social interactions. Confectionaries could also fall in that category (also used in lieu of change in India). Premium varieties such as chocolates have been positioned as a gifting alternative and a reason to celebrate ‘any’ occasion. In an interesting twist, M&Ms are positioned as the best way to say sorry for our small everyday acts (unwittingly or not) which may annoy others.
I liked the fact that it did not get into sweet, sugary emotional territory and kept it funny, real and realistic.
Agency: BBDO New York
Anheuser-Busch Super Bowl LV Commercial: Let’s grab a beer
Continuing with the theme of social lubricants, meeting someone over lunch, dinner, coffee or a drink was more than just having a meal together or a meeting. There were almost always larger reasons, even if it was as straight forward as ‘catching up’. A new ad for Anheuser-Busch sums it up: ‘when we say “Let’s grab a beer”, it’s never just about the beer. It’s always about life’s most meaningful moments – big and small – that happen when we come together over a beer.’ I loved the subtle but deep meanings conveyed in the montage – especially the one when a co-worker invites someone whose last day it is in the office.
Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.