Tiffany’s provocative #NotYourMothersTiffany, Discord’s 5-minute film, Apple’s master class on how to advertise features: creative ads of the week

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Creating clutter breaking advertising is difficult. Not surprisingly, a majority of the ads are not just mediocre but are totally ignored by consumers. During my stint in ad agencies, I too have had my share of such run-of-the-mill ads. As a token of appreciation for those crafting good ads, I attempt to share a compilation of creative ads every week. In this week’s list, a provocative campaign for Tiffany’s, a 5-minute movie for Discord and more.

Discord: The Movie

It’s fascinating how certain user segments take to social media apps and some no-go areas are formed for certain demographics. Facebook, which started off gaining popularity among the youth, probably lost favour among that segment as it became more popular and gained new (and older) consumers. I remember downloading SnapChat and not knowing how to navigate the app as the interface was different (at least for me) from conventional social media apps. I guess digital natives – the intended target audience wouldn’t find such issues with it. It may even be a deliberate strategy from social media brands targeting a specific niche to intimidate and keep out the ‘general public’. Beyond a design language, it helps to have unique terminologies associated too.

I got that feeling with Discord – an app whose name I have heard but not used. Apparently it started off as a communication service for PC gamers. Today it is a voice, video, and text chat app used by communities and groups of friends.

People use Discord daily to talk about many things, ranging from art projects and family trips to homework and mental health support. It’s a home for communities of any size, but it’s most widely used by small and active groups of people who talk regularly.


A new spot for Discord aims to position it as a service ‘where no one feels like an outsider’. In an attempt to broaden the user base, the 5-minute film (I did not flinch at the duration after I saw the first frame – maybe the presence of Danny DeVito helped and was riveted to the screen right through) takes the viewer through the various worlds: a pizza parlour, a dungeon (to cue gaming) and many other visually engaging situations. The tagline ‘Imagine a Place’ suggests that Discord can be whatever you want it to be.

Agency: AKQA. Check out the beautifully crafted web page from the agency to showcase the work on this project.

Interestingly, the genesis of this film was an Instagram story where the brand asked its users: ‘what does Discord mean to you?’.

Apple Watch Series 6: Hello Sunshine

As readers of this blog might have guessed, I am a big fan of Apple’s products and its advertising. There is so much to learn from both in terms of focus, conveying benefits (not just features and sometimes the distinction can be difficult to gauge) and keeping the product as the anchor around which the story is woven. A new film for Apple Watch Series 6 is a great example as the key features (including fall detection) are woven seamlessly around a simple story of someone planning a summer vacation.

Tiffany: #NotYourMothersTiffany

In a world where something is considered ‘old’ if it happened 5 months ago, how can a 184-year old brand remain contemporary and ‘cool’? Tiffany & Co., the luxury brand known for its diamond & silver jewellery was founded in 1838. Over the years it has retained its air of exclusivity and good taste. It’s iconic colours and packaging are great distinct assets. But as with many heritage brands they too face the dilemma of constantly attracting new (and young) audience by appealing to them at the risk of alienating their older customers. A new outdoor campaign from Tiffany & Co. (as seen in its Instagram feed too) has upset its loyal, older customers and has also triggered a debate in the marketing circles. ‘As a mum and older woman you’re saying you don’t need me as a customer‘ and ‘Looks like Tiffanys moved to the wrong side of NYC‘ are some of the comments I spotted.

Here’s an interesting read on it where the author says alienating loyal customers is to be expected in the fashion industry when a heritage brands goes in for an update. I think it is a bold approach and feels right. Here’s why:

It’s a different world from 1838: iconic brands built on a brick & mortar heritage had an air of exclusivity about them. Access was limited to a few. In today’s world where e-commerce is a reality there’s new competition in the form of online-only D2C brands. Away, a travel brand, is one such example. In several categories consumers have great options to choose from. Many use Instagram to not just create an aura but also as a shopping channel. Personally speaking, Instagram has been the most effective platform for me when it comes to completing the purchase loop through social media. In that context, making the brand attractive to the Gen Z and Gen X is critical.

Reference to context: a new entrant in a category with established players tries to re-position the older brand as ‘fuddy-duddy’ as we used to say in advertising. Even a brand seeking a refresh says it’s not your dad’s brand anymore. ‘Not your father’s Oldsmobile‘ comes to mind. In that context, making the brand appealing to the younger generation would come at a price. In my view, this campaign sets up a platform, a precursor as it were to a campaign which ‘stands for something’ – which could appeal to Gen Z. Directly moving to such a campaign may have ended up confusing both the audience.

British Army: a soldier is a soldier

Recruiting for the army is a fascinating ‘marketing objective’. According to this post on the campaign background, ‘when you type ‘British soldier’ into Google images, 99 per cent of the first 100 results are men.’ So the attempt is to change perceptions and attract more women into the UK army. A new spot, pretty much close to the brief says ‘a soldier is a soldier’.

Agency: Karmarama

Update: After I uploaded my post yesterday, I came across a few more which were worth appreciating.

Mattress Firm: junk sleep

‘A good night’s sleep has an impact on you perform the next day’ has been a plank for many mattress brands. ‘Don’t underestimate a good night’s sleep’ and variations there of are common. IKEA’s ‘Tomorrow starts tonight‘ and WakeFit’s ‘Counting Sheep‘ can be seen in this blog. A new campaign from Mattress Firm (liked the pun) features actor Liev Schreiber and comes up with a memorable name for poor quality sleep: junk sleep. And then goes on to dramatise the ill-effects of poor sleep – such as poor memory, errors at work and so on. I also liked the way the likely situations are brought alive simply through back ground props and lighting.

Agency: Droga5

Canon: one image Tokyo 2020

This ad felt like poetry. Each frame was beautifully set up like a studio picture or a short video art directed to perfection. Showing is telling in this case as Canon pays tribute to iconic pictures that inspire others to dream.

Credits: Creative Director – Tatsuya Ishikawa / BSPK

Pedigree: adoption drive

This ad has been doing the rounds of social media for a while now and its a tear jerker. A simple message to encourage people to adopt dogs from animals shelters is told beautifully in an emotional back story. Loved it.

Agency: BBDO

Friends Diaper: one in four

Frequent urination is a common ailment among older folk. While kids of such parents will be aware of this the issue is presented in the context of a startling outcome of such a condition: one in four elders is injured. The execution of the film – whirring fans, the lighting, the location all evoke a sense of anticipation, a foreboding of something dangerous is about to happen. Nice execution.

Agency: The Womb

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