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 (and some occasional commentary on the business of advertising). In this week’s list:
Visit Dubai: a five-star mission
Ads which imitate the typical big-budget Hollywood action flick are not new. Remember the BMW series, ‘The Hire’ back from 2001? A new ad from Visit Dubai uses the action movie or spy thriller trailer format to good effect. Starring Jessica Alba and Zac Efron the film aims to showcase the various landmarks and luxury lifestyle of Dubai in a high-adrenaline ‘Mission Impossible’ or 007-like film.
BrewDog: Beer for all
Category cliche is a double-edged sword in advertising. Food brands, automobiles, luxury brands, skin care, beer – all have their ‘codes’. An automobile ad has to have the camera panning the exterior, it is common to see ingredients coming together and falling on to a biscuit…you get the drift. A new ad for BrewDog doesn’t rely on the usual high-fiving happy moments but cleverly weaves in their ‘world’s first carbon-negative brewery’ as good for the planet and hence ‘beer for all’. The copywriting is top notch wittily driving home the point. Loved it.
Amazon Prime: Rapunzel
Rapunzel orders something on Amazon Prime and delivers a twist in the familiar tale. Good fun.
Groupon: grab life
‘Grabbing an opportunity’ or offer to cue ‘making the most’ of a situation is a commonly used phrase. Groupon USA’s new theme ‘Grab life by the Groupon’ brings it alive by using a giant pair of hands (doesn’t look grotesque thankfully) as a visual device.
The theme ads which shows the various uses cases allows for short cut-aways too.
Lume Pad: breakthrough
At first view you may be left wondering what’s the game of ‘tag’ all about (a tad too stretched I thought) but the penny drops in the last frame. The ad is for Lume Pad which offers ‘3D Lightfield viewing’ which is ‘At first view you may be left wondering what’s the game of ‘tag’ all about (a tad too stretched I thought) but the penny drops in the last frame. The ad is for Lume Pad which offers ‘3D Lightfield viewing’ which is ‘realistic, multi-dimensional, and incredibly natural’ thanks to ‘groundbreaking Nanotechnology’.
Director: Ulf Johansson
Saridon: why hide your headache
A simple visual device of a ‘mask with a smiling face’ works well for Saridon, a headache-relief tablet. Also good to see a once-popular advertising property of ‘Just one Saridon’ brought back in this campaign. As an aside I am sure there are many such advertising properties abandoned in the quest for a ‘shiny new toy’.
Agency: Lowe Lintas
Competitive advertising can be fun. When done well, it can dramatise a feature or service advantage even without directly naming the competition. A print ad for Swiggy’s instamart service capitalises on Big Basket’s pain point (as experienced by a user) of allotting time slots for delivery – without naming them. Many a times, I have abandoned grocery purchase on Big Basket for this reason – when I want something delivered urgently it is frustrating to be given a time slot the next day or the day after. The side-by-side comparison cleverly brings out the simplicity and speed of service.
Agency: in-house (?)
British Airways: summer sale
Every mode of transport has its advantages and disadvantages. Players in train travel have dramatised the disadvantages of road travel (traffic congestion, mainly) in the past. A new tactical from British Airways smartly highlights the traffic congestion of highways and the affordable pricing of getaways.
P&O Cruises: panorama
The best of ads exploit a medium or platform to its advantage. Great use of audio in a radio spot, clever use of outdoor for visual impact and so on. In print, smart use of space often brings a smile and charms the reader. An ad for P&O Cruises brings alive the panoramic view from their decks in a UK daily.
Snapdeal: brand-waali quality
Traditionally, national brands in India have treated ‘South’ as one market and the creatives have shown the stereotype of a ‘Madrasi’ as imagined by a creative team in Mumbai. They aim to ‘connect’ with the regional audience but end up alienating all the speakers of the four major languages in the South in the execution. Dubbing is usually out of sync and translation very bookish. In that context I liked the approach taken by Snapdeal in its new campaign. There’s an effort to customise it to each region through simple devices: wall-calendars in a bank are in the dubbed language, original writing for each region and such like. As the Brand Head of Snapdeal says, ‘The South Indian market is discrete and heterogeneous in terms of cultural nuances and languages, which required a different strategy for each geography.’
The campaign is anchored on a common insight and ‘consumer lingo’. There is a yearning to own ‘branded’ items – consumer speak for expensive, well-known brands. But the price tag is prohibitively out of reach. Such a feeling is well captured by the ‘weighed down’ look of the protagonists.
Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.