Cutting through clutter and being noticed is job No.1 for any ad. Unfortunately, the marketing & advertising collectively wastes millions of dollars in production and media monies on run-of-the-mill ads which are simply ignored – not even disliked. I attempt to share a compilation of creative ads every week (and some commentary on industry issues occasionally). Here are some compelling creative ads I noticed week ending Oct 9, 2020:
Flipkart Big Billion Days: double roles
Marketers bet on celebrity endorsements to create brand awareness and the common usage points to great ROI (else it would have been discontinued) and the ‘don’t try to fix what’s not broken’ approach in ad agencies. Beyond awareness, sometimes the objectivity could be to acquire brand associations such as premium cues. Many of the ads featuring celebrities are boring talking heads with the celebrity simply pointing to the product offering hardly any engagement or entertainment to the viewer. Yet, sheer media monies and media buzz is likely to create awareness for the brand or service. Of course there are many examples of smart use of celebrities – mostly playing characters and not themselves.
One such is the new campaign for Flipkart’s upcoming online annual sale where they have used many celebrities – all playing double roles. The message that everyone can afford ‘branded’ products through great deals is nicely set up through the double roles – where the well-off snooty, condescending one is put down by the regular ‘everyday’ character – as seen in the ads featuring Alia Bhatt, Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Singh. The Amitabh Bachchan ones have a different take where a seemingly cussed old man who claims to be hard of hearing or having poor sight does not fail to get details of the sale message. Nicely done.
Samsung Galaxy A: awesome is for everyone
The word ‘awesome’, commonly spelt as OSM in social media comment sections is attributed to virtually everything nowadays by the younger generation, perhaps next only to ‘epic’. The theme ‘awesome is for everyone’ was introduced for Samsung Galaxy A last year and carried forward in this very Tik-Tok like ‘unadvertising’.
Pizza Hut, UK: satisfyingly satisfying
In 2019, Pizza Hut UK created a quirky spot to convey a generic message. The trend continues in a new spot which dramatises why Pizza Hut pizzas are ‘satisfying’. The fun delivery and the montage of situations make the ad compelling to watch.
Samsung Eco Bubble: Pour Laundry
Ads spoofing ads need not necessarily be an inside joke in advertising. Luxury ads, especially for high end perfumes, have followed a template of sorts for decades. They deliberately create dreamy, air-fairy, pretentious ads which leave a lot of the viewers puzzled. The attempt is to create an aura of mystery around the brand, making it more ‘desirable’. Some of the results are unintentionally hilarious as they invite ridicule from regular folks. A new spot for Samsung’s Ecobubble range of washing machines feature Olympic gold medallist Max Whitlock is an ‘ode’ to such ads, virtually plugging a perfume: ‘so good, we bottled it. Pour Homme. Pour Femme. Pour Laundry’. Superb.
Agency: Taylor Herring
Hello Fresh: hungry hearts
I feel like kicking myself for not having seen the content produced by Hello Fresh, a meal-kit delivery service. Earlier this year, they created two episodes featuring Annie Murphy – both tied in superbly with the line ‘Take the drama out of dinner’. A new episode has just been released in Canada and is as good, if not better than the earlier ones. I feel this is content marketing at its best as it cleverly integrates the brand through entertainment never once making it look like an advertisement.
Wilkinson: topical advertising
Topical ads can be fun. They capitalise on the news of the day in a way that can be linked back to the brand. Done well and effortlessly it can deliver great PR mileage as with this ad for Veet. A new ad for Wilkinson took advantage of the news of the day in UK dailies with messaging around the first Presidential Debate in the US this year.
The Hindu: World Mental Health Day
A well-crafted English print ad is a rarity in India these days. The reasons could be many (all speculative): clients are not demanding such an output being satisfied as what they call ‘straightforward advertising’, there is a dearth of talent as many copywriters are not trained in the art of copywriting for print as they focus largely on TV scripts and web films. The Hindu has been commissioning ads around public interest topics such as COVID-19, World Wildlife Day and so on. The hallmark of the recent campaigns have been engaging copywriting and good craft – a reminder of the print ads from the 90s in India.
In this context, it was heartening to see a print ad pertaining to World Mental Health Day for The Hindu. The ad had me read every word of it, got me to ‘interact’ with it by turning the page and made me ‘feel’ something. Some say that such ads are meant for industry insiders and created only to win awards. There is some truth in speculative ads and chasing awards being the norm in the industry. Also the rub-off to the advertised brand maybe tenuous in most cases but here I felt even if it impacted a handful of people (the chances are high as it is an empathetic ad) and makes the brand come across as a caring one, the job is done.
Agency: Ogilvy, Bangalore
Ocean Spray: Dreams
There is no telling what can go viral on the internet. Nathan Apodaca, a resident of Idaho created a Tik-Tok video of him skating on his longboard lip-syncing to the Fleetwood Mac song, Dreams and sipping Ocean Spray cranberry juice. The video went viral and had even got a Fleetwood Mac member re-create the video. The brand’s CEO also posted a similar video. But the brand chose to reward the user beyond just posting a video – they gifted a truck and literally truck-loads of the juice. As AdAge rightly said:
‘Brands and agencies can go to great lengths planning highly produced ads with carefully scripted rollout plans. But the best PR often comes from regular people using their products in attention-grabbing ways on social media’.
Another interesting take on this piece of digital marketing came from A Priori Consultants about Ocean Spray’s strategy:
They didn’t ignore it nor did they cynically vampire it; they acknowledged the meme and in a calibrated manner responded to it in an authentic and generous fashion. The sense is the brand will be stronger and even more loved because of their response.
Hotels.com: live under a rock
This is a great stunt guaranteed to get press coverage. Hotels.com is offering an opportunity to live under a rock for US citizens: ‘For those who are experiencing any and all forms of election stress disorder (this is a real thing!), Hotels.com is helping you and a travel buddy escape the chatter to go live under a rock — literally!’
Which one was your favourite? Do comment in.