Extra Gum, Switzerland Tourism and more: 16 top creative ads of the week

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Every week, I attempt to share a compilation of clutter-breaking creative ads and occasionally some commentary on the business of advertising. As many have noted, a majority of the ads out there go un-noticed, so managing to break the clutter is actually a big deal. This week’s compilation includes a spot for Extra Gum which has gone viral and a few more from UK and India.

Extra Gum: for when it’s time

Aside from the view count on YouTube (which sometimes is gamed) an ad campaign can be considered a hit when the mainstream media talks about it. A new ad for Extra Gum seems to have struck a chord as it reflects the sense of relief people are likely to feel when the pandemic is finally over. We are all fatigued and yearning for this pandemic to end. In some countries, restrictions are being eased and some have begun to hope for a return to life as it was.

The ad imagines a world ‘sometime in the not too distant future’ and is a hilarious montage of things people would indulge in, now that they are finally free – all set to Celine Dione’s ‘It’s All Coming Back to Me Now’. It’s one of those films with great repeat value as one notices small things in every situation portrayed. The role of the chewing gum feels natural even though used in an exaggerated situation. A great example of entertaining, relevant commercial based on an universal insight for a relatively ‘low interest’ category.

Agency: Energy BBDO

Nike: Play New

Sports brands, especially those with celebrities as brand endorsers have it relatively easy as a mere talking head or a creating stirring film meant to motivate is good enough to garner attention. Nike has its fair share of such high adrenaline commercials. In that context, here’s a different ad which showcases the failures of sportsmen dramatising how bad they were at the sport. The underlying message that its ok to try something new and fail comes through clearly.

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

BT: broadband rage

We’ve all been in this situation: we want to rage at the broadband service when it lets us down by going on the blink or offering slow speeds at a crucial juncture of work, entertainment or play. A new spot from BT in the UK dramatizes this moment to naturally offer their ‘unbreakable’ as a service as there’s a mobile network as backup.There’s no twist in the tale but the ad holds your attention thanks to the exaggeration of the reactions and the aftermath of the broadband rage.

Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

Switzerland Tourism: no drama

Self-deprecation works in humour. In new spot for Switzerland Tourism, actor Rober De Niro is not very impressed with a mood film on Switzerland sent by friend Roger Federer. The idyllic surroundings offer ‘no drama’ complains the actor and thus subliminally cueing a perfect holiday spot, which sits well with the perception of the country brand too.

Agency: Wirz BBDO, Switzerland

Smart Meters: Einstein’s Bath

The first thing that strikes you about this new ad is the remarkable life-like CGI of Albert Einstein. It’s not just good make up or acting which does that but the effort put on recreation shows. The ad is for Smart meters, a gas and electricity meter in the UK. The ad simply gets Einstein, associated with being brainy, urging all to ‘digitise’ the energy system as they help the system become more efficient, and help Britain use greener energy.

Agency: AMV BBDO. CGI: The Mill. Check out the making of the film here.

P&G: love leads to good

The ‘Thank you, Mom’ effort from P&G ticked all the boxes in terms of business relevance, ‘acts more than ads’ and emotional, lump-in-the-throat communication. A new series of ads related to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics take the emotional route. But somehow one can anticipate how the film will end and didn’t really have that ‘expect the unexpected’ feel to it. Nevertheless, poignant and well made.

Agency: Wieden+Kennedy

TVS Eurogrip: full of turns

When in advertising, I too used to label some categories (such as industrial advertising) as ‘boring’. Turns out there is nothing called a ‘boring’ category – it’s what the team makes of the business challenge at hand and the creativity in solving that through engaging creative – whether it is a ball bearing or engine oil . A few categories in advertising can be more challenging than others, especially when there’s no product differentiation or when if it’s a low involvement category like tyres. I mean, who really worries too much about the brand of tyres in their two-wheeler or car? In such categories, the brand comes into question only when there’s a problem.

A new ad for TVS Eurogrip makes the proposition and communication interesting by getting us to nod in agreement about Indian roads – it’s full of turns. The visual language of the film and the voice over work together well to drive home the message of tyres made for our unique road conditions.

Agency: Tilt Brand Solutions

Warburtons: can wait

British brand Warburtons has featured its boss and a celebrity together in a spot earlier too. A new one carries on the tradition with George Clooney being put on hold as there are more important things to attend to, such as having a Warburtons toast. The spot may not be rip-roaringly funny but does drive home the ‘give in to the indulgence’ for some much needed alone-time.

Agency: Engine

Barbie: change the world

Of late, many brands have felt it essential to cue issues such as gender equality and LGBTQ rights in order to come across as inclusive. The urge to join the brand purpose brand wagon too has perhaps forced many to stretch the higher order benefit to something close to a solution to all of the world’s problems. Just to clarify, honing in on a relevant, compelling and preferably differentiated ‘higher-order’ benefit is essential -it allows for an emotional connect and aspiration message in communication. Santoor soap’s ‘younger looking skin’ promise translated as ‘moms being mistaken for someone younger’ is an example. Ease of voice commands in Alexa is translated as being in control of the entertainment experience.

Barbie has been on the path of higher order benefit for a while now. In an earlier post, I noted: ‘In popular media, brand Barbie has borne the brunt of many attacks with detractors arguing that it has a negative impact on girls and their body image. The popular argument is that it focuses children to worry about perfect looks and nothing more’. ‘Imagine the possibilities’ was the platform earlier. In a new spot, it is stretched (a tad too much in my view) to ‘a doll can help change the world’. I get the intent and the qualities of empathy and innocent ‘equality’ evident in role play when it comes to kids and dolls, but is the stretch credible though it makes for a sweet commercial? Do comment in.

Agency: BBH, LA

McCafe: ker-ching

They say cinema (and by extension television and TV commercials) is powerful because of its audio-visual impact. I wonder if this commercial works as well if watched on mute or if the audio cue is missed in the din and distraction of a living room TV watching experience.

Agency: Leo Burnett

British Airways: you make us fly

Needless to say, the past year or so has been tough on the travel industry. Airline brands are likely to be cautious about the prospect of worry-free travel any time soon. In terms consumer mindset I feel it is a mix of pent up yearning to break free and a sense of fear when it comes to travel. I don’t think there are any easy answers. Even if some western countries ease travel restrictions in the coming months, given the nature of global travel, all would be wary of the pandemic as some countries, like India currently are still reeling from the effects. In that context, a new ad from British Airways which aims to reassure travellers by showing eager the brand is to serve customers is a brave effort. I wouldn’t say it is a particularly moving ad but given the circumstances it will be noticed.

Agency: Team Horizon (teams from Ogilvy, Wavemaker and Hogarth)

World Ovarian Cancer Day: billboard

Aside from Times Square in New York, the Piccadilly Lights in London is considered the most premium property for billboards. I loved the usage of this billboard to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and the link ‘an ad you can’t miss, for a cancer you do’.

Agency: Topham Guerin

Volvo: the ultimate safety test

Safety is the one word association with Volvo. They have nurtured that equation over the years. It needs to be pointed out here that such an equation is unlikely to be sustained or believed only through advertising claims – the product has to deliver. An ad from Volvo (released a couple of weeks ago) cleverly combines the safety story with a message on climate change. As an aside even though it is a product sell packaged as a PSA it doesn’t feel like a force-fit or low on credibility.

Agency: Grey

Snickers ice cream: PTO

Why is a Good Insight Like a Refrigerator? Because the moment you look into it, a light comes on.’ This famous quote from Jeremy Bullmore of WPP in the context of insights, comes to my mind every time I see an ad from Snickers ‘you’re not you when you are hungry’ series. I felt the same way with this ad for their ice cream brand showing the protagonists ‘trying’ to enjoy their vacation without taking their mind off work. Loved it.

Agency: BBDO New York

Carhartt: Mother’s Day 2021

It’s that time of the year again. Brands would trip over each other to pay tributes to mothers around the world. There is usually a sea of sameness in such efforts, but not with Carhartt an outdoor and workwear apparel company. Yes, they too are ‘saluting’ mothers but the ad feels a tad more realistic than most such. It features real mothers and shows the sheer exhaustion of being a mother. I loved the ‘shift that never ends’ thought.

The campaign also features a bouquet which can be ordered (sold out now). The bouquet is ‘built to look like your typical floral bouquet – but after Mother’s Day – offers mom some functional gear she can use for years to come.’

McDonald’s Indonesia: restaurant at home

I feel the cliche meter is turned to max when it comes to ‘Ramadan advertising’ – be it in India, Pakistan, Gulf countries or in South East Asia. A new ad for McDonald’s in Indonesia feel real and hence different. Breaking the ramzan fast at a restaurant such as McDonald’s is common. Even though restaurants are open, people are hesitant to visit them. The ad tells the story of a small child who is disappointed that the family cannot visit her favourite McDonald’s -so the family decides to bring the restaurant home. A sweet ad which brings alive the ambience and experience of the brand which families seem to love.

Agency: Leo Burnett, Indonesia

Which one was your favourite?

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