SRK+ for DisneyPlus Hotstar, Heineken metaverse spoof and more: creative ads of the week

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Advertising competes for our attention. We tend to ignore it as we have more important issues occupying our minds. Add to it the general clutter of media and we have to appreciate creative ads which get noticed and stay memorable. My weekly compilation of clutter breaking creative ads is a small tribute to such efforts. Here are a few creative ideas which caught my eye this past week:

Disney Hotstar: SRK+

Teasers are meant to create curiosity and a benchmark of their success if when mainstream media – and in today’s context, social media begins to talk about it. But not all teasers and reveals have the desired impact. Among the one’s who got it right was Frooti, a fruit beverage back in the early 2000s. It’s teaser campaign managed to create hype around a faceless character called Digen Verma. There was a lot of buzz around the name and curiosity was built. The reveals too were creative and brought a smile. The campaign has a wide recall even today.

Last week, the launch of a new OTT platform by popular Indian actor Shahrukh Khan caught media’s attention. Everyone assumed that SRK launching his own brand in streaming was a natural thing to do. The reveal is a promo for DisneyPlus Hotstar cleverly weaving in the speculation and the content bouquet on the platform.

Heineken Silver: metaverse edition

It’s good to see an ad agency mock its own industry’s propensity to chase the ‘shiny new toy’: of late, metaverse. A new ‘variant’ called Heineken Silver apparently has ‘no calories, no hidden ingredients and no beer’. The entire proposition and the copywriting (‘try to try it now’) brings a smile and makes the brand endearing.

There’s a launch event video too with some crackling copywriting (‘our emergency exits are..I guess that doesn’t really apply now’) , voicing (is it a parody of the agency’s own bosses?) and gags. Good fun.

Agency: Publicis Italy

Aviation Gin: safety video parody

Ryan Reynold’s owned Aviation Gin (which he then sold to Diageo) and used his personal so well to promote it. The consistently good ideas and execution would make any traditional ad agency envious. They get the strategy right (‘what to say’) and the how part of it – the creative smarts takes it to another level as seen in other brands such as Mint Mobile. A new spot meant to simply announce that Aviation Gin is now available on British Airways is all of the above.

Agency: Maximum Effort

Barry’s Tea: letter to parents

A woman moves from Brazil to Ireland and writes about her experiences in a foreign country to her parents. She comments on the new way of life, the people and their quirks. It’s an ad for a tea brand. Sounds boring? The ad is anything but – the clever use of Portugese voice over and the tying in of the brand to a ‘foreign’ way of life – adding milk to tea is all smoothly done. The tag line, ‘we make the tea, you make the moments’ sits so well with the category too.

Lunar Banking: the guru

A Danish banking app, Lunar has launched a campaign featuring actor Will Ferrell as a ‘money guru’ helping us to ‘gain control over our money life’. The over the top, deliberately silly context and gags works well as it all the familiar (to the western audience) references to ‘gurus’.

Agency: Åkestam Holst/NoA

Taco Bell: Nacho Fries

Crowdsourcing as a concept is not new. Brands have used it in the past to generate ideas for marketing campaigns including brand name suggestions, adverts and logos. I used to believe that ‘on strategy’ ideas can rarely come from the general public and its best that professional ad agencies are mandated to execute adverts. Now I am not so sure. While the smartphone has been around for years now, the advent of apps such as TikTok or other content creation platforms have unleashed so much creativity from regular folks that it is mind boggling. Agencies no longer compete with other professional ad agencies – marketers are investing monies behind content creators and entertainers.

In a great example of collaboration (rather than crowdsourcing) with consumers, Taco Bell has created a teaser-like ad for Nacho Fries. They asked consumers to contribute to the ideas for a teaser through the #FriesChallenge hashtag.

The plot alone wasn’t all that fans had a say in. In collaboration with the brand’s 1.9M Twitter followers, “Fry Again” was produced in partnership with creative agency Deutsch LA, fans helped with elements from choosing to name the main character “Vanessa”, to selecting the type of sports car she would be driving. Taco Bell engaged fans via creative polls on Twitter and Instagram to determine the main character’s outfit, sidekicks, all the way down to naming her dog, “Baja.” 


Agency: Deutsch LA

Keeper’s Heart: whiskey that made Ireland angry

Brian Nation is a master distiller for some of Ireland’s most famous whiskeys. In 2021, he moved to the US to join O’Shaughnessy Distilling Co. in Minneapolis. ‘Keeper’s Heart’ is a brand of whiskey from this company. A new ad portrays the people of Cork – his home town, to be upset about the move. I loved the out of the box thinking and the clever link back to the origins which is so important in this category.

iPad Air: election campaigns

The hallmark of many ads from Apple is that the product is smack bang in the centre with the story anchored around it. Other routes (where the brand or product plays a peripheral role) may be effective too, as we with the case of Barry’s Tea above. In a new ad for iPad Air, the device becomes the tool which helps a bunch of students fight for election. The twist in the tale brings a smile.

T.K.Maxx: unbelievable

Switching the focus from an object which hogs the limelight to an unlikely one is a ruse done before in advertising. But it works best in this ad for Australian retailer T.K.Maxx.

Agency: AnalogFolk

Heineken 0.0: cheers with no alcohol

This is an ad from January this year which I came across this week: clutter-breaking, entertaining and focused on delivering the product benefit.

For centuries non-drinkers have been facing this dilemma: cheers or no cheers? Fret not, your answer is here.

Agency: Publicis Italy

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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