Top creative ads of the week: Marmite ‘Baby scan’, P&O Cruises and more

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An ad’s first task is to get noticed. The top creative ads in any era – be it in the pre-digital or digital world first stood out from the media clutter of the day. Of course, just being noticed is not enough (being ignored is a worse fate though) – a brand’s message has to be relevant (to the intended audience), engaging (either entertaining or holding attention through shock value or any other emotion) and linked to a business objective. My weekly compilation of creative ads is a small tribute to brand teams everywhere. Here is a compilation of clutter breaking ads which caught my eye recently:

Marmite: Baby scan

‘Love it or hate it’ is much more than a clever tag line. It focused on the product and its polarising taste so well and must rank among the great marketing campaigns of all time. It converted a negative into a positive and kept pace with changing marketing objectives with clever creative adaptations. The squeeze variant had drawings of celebrities or well-known people (who evoke polarising reactions) ostensibly done with the product form. The chilli variant dramatised the ‘hot, spicy’ nature without losing the core idea of polarised taste. My favourite one is for Marmite Truffle which conveyed the core message and yet linked it with a characteristic of the variant.

A new TV spot carries the legacy forward by dramatising the divide: apparently even soon-to-born babies can be surmised to be either lovers or haters (of Marmite). The documentary style voice over and the subtle emotions displayed by the parents, the wry humour all work together well to bring a smile, drive home the point.

Agency: Adam&eveDDB

Edgard & Cooper – They are what they eat

it is jokingly said that if you cast babies or pets such as dogs & cats in an advert it is guaranteed to catch attention. But beyond that one needs a genuine creative idea. An ad for Edgard & Cooper positions its cat food as the ‘real one’ – what makes it work is the extrapolation of that idea to showing pets eating other food as ‘make believe’ or mere dummies. As television is an audio-visual medium, the imagery of pets as cardboard cutouts sticks in our mind.

Agency: We are Pi/Amsterdam

Sheba: you’ll do anything for a kitten

It’s interesting to see how a marketing task is sliced and diced differently. Sheba cat food anchors a new campaign (check out their old campaign ‘Cats that rule the world’) on data which shows that one in four cat owners are allergic to cats. That fact has been extrapolated as going to great lengths to love a cat – which includes feeding them the best, where one is supposed to make a brand connect.

Agency: AMV BBDO

Formula E: progress is unstoppable

Formula E, officially the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, is a single-seater motorsport championship that uses only electric cars. In the past, they have anchored the communication on ‘change’. In 2021, the created an ad which featured competition between drivers to win the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship as part of a bigger, relentless race to fight climate change. A new ad is a visual spectacle of a daring stunt to bring alive this theme:

Now it’s time to accelerate into the second half of the season and like our drivers, we have no desire to play it safe. This is racing without limits and the fight for the title is on. 

Agency: Uncommon London

Forever Green: ugly heads

Personifying an object or a concept is common enough strategy in creative ideation. Done well it can deliver the good – as we saw in that classic ad, portraying wind as a character. A new ad for a garden maintenance brand from Canada portrays as weeds as people literally interpreting the line ‘rearing their ugly heads’.

Agency: Cossette

OpenDoor: out of town

For a platform to buy & sell homes it is not unique to claim that one can sell and buy homes from just about anywhere. What makes the ad interesting is the setting – the seemingly unlikely place from where the key proposition of ‘buy and sell when you are ready’ is driven home: when on a space ship, for example.

Agency: Venables, Bell + Partners

Make My Money Matter: The Hidden Relationship

My Money Matter is an UK-based organisation which claims ‘to work to transform the financial system, so it puts people and planet on a par with profit’. A lovely new pitches the oil companies and high street banks as a couple seeking therapy and arguing it out.

The campaign urges UK consumers to write to their bank: ‘As a customer, I am complaining about the risk you are posing to my future if you keep financing fossil fuel expansion. You’ve shown that maintaining your dangerous relationship with the fossil fuel industry is a clear priority, even as peers like HSBC, Lloyds and NatWest take initial steps to stop financing fossil fuel expansion.’

Agency: Mother

P&O Cruises: outdoor

Here’s a campaign whose strategy and tactics are great. To promote the adoption of P&O Cruises as a travel option between England & France, a clever outdoor campaign dramatises the negative aspects of train & air travel on that router as ultra boring or inconvenient. What makes it even more interesting is the placement of such billboards at train stations and outside airports.

Agency: Publicis Poke

Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.

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