November 10th, 2013 by admin
No comments »
TV Commercial 14th Floor
I like to say that if a company is getting its advertising right, it’s probably doing other things right as well. It’s hard to think of a company that better epitomizes that statement than Apple.
Which means that, judging by this new TV commercial, the iPad Air is probably one helluva product.
The ad cleverly makes you think that it’s extolling the many simple virtues of the venerable No. 2 pencil, all the while engaging your interest by slowly zooming in to the changing graphics as said pencil looms larger and larger in the foreground. The spot ends with the iPad Air being revealed from behind the pencil, a very effective way of conveying that the Air is pencil-thin.
In fact, the ad is so well-produced that half-way through it I started to suspect that it was for an Apple product. But while that might have slightly spoiled the surprise ending for me, it didn’t affect my perception that the new iPad Air–and anything made by Apple–is best in its class.
So while the pencil might be No. 2, Apple is clearly No. 1.
November 9th, 2013 by admin
No comments »
TV Commercial 12th Floor
Sometimes the best way to communicate a product’s benefits is to depict the disadvantages of not using the product. The key is to do it in a way that doesn’t strike people as taking a cheap shot or being mean-spirited, and this new TV commercial from Pam pulls this trick off very nicely.
The “residue” character’s cute, funny personality ensures that no one will be grossed out–no minor feat–and the script is clever. (I particularly loved the reference to “poultrygeist.”)
Bottom line: a clever, simple piece of communication that gets its point across in an entertaining, memorable way.
Pretty slick, huh?
August 13th, 2013 by admin
No comments »
TV commercial Lobby
Department stores are among the most image-conscious types of retailers, which makes me wonder what Kohl’s was thinking when they decided to air this commercial.
It would be hard to imagine a less clever, less cool and less fashionable commercial than this one. It’s something you might expect from a small, independent clothing store in a small Midwestern town.
I’m not sure what’s more lame: the fake-looking red hair on the Kohl’s clerk, her sappy facial expression, or the dance performed by the mother and daughter to the sorely dated song, “What a Feeling.”
If Kohl’s has any hopes of competing on the national stage with savvy retailers ranging from Target on the low end to Nordstrom on the high end, they’re going to have to up their game considerably.
Kohl’s tagline is, “Expect great things.” I think Kohl’s management needs to heed their own words and expect more–a lot more–from their marketing department and ad agency.
May 19th, 2013 by admin
No comments »
TV Campaign 2nd floor
Don’t you just love that State Farm TV campaign where the young man interviews several cute and funny kids?
Me too. . . . except that it’s not a State Farm campaign; it’s an AT&T campaign.
This is just the latest example of clever, humorous entertainment that many people–including advertisers and the ad agencies–mistake for effective advertising.
In this case, there’s absolutely no reference to the brand or the benefits it provides until the commercial is three-quarters complete. Even then, you hear the AT&T name a grand total of one time as part of a rapid-fire voiceover that is virtually indiscernible. This campaign doesn’t sell; it merely entertains. And it does a marvelous job of entertaining. The campaign is brilliantly cast; the guy is dryly hysterical, and every one of the kids is very cute, charming and funny. But while the campaign is doing viewers a favor by providing free entertainment, it’s doing AT&T no favors.
This is what happens when ads are written by people who would rather be working on a sitcom than on an ad campaign. (To be fair, I don’t know for a fact that this is the case with this campaign, but it certainly fits an all-too-common pattern.)
And frankly, if the people who created this campaign were to ever develop a sitcom, I’d want to see it.
I just wouldn’t want to see them doing my advertising.
February 4th, 2013 by admin
No comments »
TV commercial 14th Floor
Normally I’m not a fan of TV commercials that don’t mention the brand name until the very end, but I’ll make an exception for this commercial run by Tide in last night’s Super Bowl.
The commercial is brilliant for two reasons. First, it’s extremely well-produced and fun to watch; it grabs–and entertains–its audience from start to finish. Second, and more important, the drama of the spot is focused on Tide’s reason for being: removing stains.
In other words, unlike so many Super Bowl ads, this ad wasn’t entertaining for the sake of being entertaining; it was entertaining in order to dramatize the product’s effectiveness. That’s what I call StrategiCreativity®: a very creative execution build upon a strong strategic foundation.
As I look back on last night’s commercials as a group, I’ll remember them as one of the worst in Super Bowl history. But Tide’s brilliant commercial came close to removing the stain of that memory.
January 25th, 2013 by admin
No comments »
tv commercial 12th floor
Initially I had mixed emotions about this TV commercial for booking.com, which bills itself as “Planet Earth’s #1 Accommodations Site.”
On the one hand . . . It grabs your attention and does a spectacular job of leveraging–and registering–its brand name seven times in sixty seconds, which is critical for a brand that’s relatively new to the US market. It also does a nice job of visually demonstrating the benefits it apparently provides its customers.
On the other hand . . . Much of the impact described above is due to its intentional and frequent use of the word “booking” in place of an “f word” that almost rhymes with “booking.” While I personally find this to be pretty clever, and I think a lot of people will find it entertaining, I also suspect that a lot of people will find it offensive.
So is it a brilliant idea or not? If–as I suspect–booking.com is consciously targeting younger, liberally-oriented consumers who like an edgy approach, then I think it is. However, they need to realize–as I again suspect they do–that they’ll be turning off a number of older and/or conservative consumers who will find this spot to be in extremely poor taste.
The essence of effective marketing is knowing your target audience, doing whatever it takes to thrill them, and not worrying about what people you aren’t targeting think. As the late advertising legend Hal Riney once told me, “When you try to appeal to everybody, you usually end up appealing to nobody.”
And the more I think about it, the more I think Hal would have found this commercial to be “booking” awesome!
January 21st, 2013 by admin
No comments »
The only thing worse than not being clever is thinking you’re clever when you’re not. Exhibit A: this latest TV commercial for Subway, one of the least clever advertisers on the planet.
Do Subway’s executives, or their ad agency, actually think the phrase “Turkeytopia” is clever? Worse yet, do they think their audience thinks it’s clever?
If we’re to believe this ad, Ndamukong Suh, one of the celebrity athletes featured in this spot, finds the phrase absolutely hysterical. Then again, he thinks it’s fine to stomp on an and maim opposing players on the football field, so his judgment is suspect to say the least.
Speaking of questionable judgment, who thought it was a good idea to feature Suh–the NFL’s dirtiest player with numerous off-the-field mishaps as well –in this commercial? Generally speaking, the rule of many hapless advertisers seems to be, “If you don’t have a creative idea, use a celebrity.” As it is wont to do, Subway was so lacking in creativity that it decided to use three celebrities in this spot. Thus, not only is the commercial totally lacking in cleverness, it’s also unnecessarily expensive.
I’ve always liked Subway as a provider of reasonably healthy and tasty fast food, but I’ve never understood why they can’t get it together from an advertising standpoint.
And if Subway doesn’t like the opinions I’m expressing, they can Suh me.
November 16th, 2012 by admin
No comments »
TV commercial 14th floor, 14th floor
The best commercials are the simplest, and it doesn’t get much simpler than this TV commercial for the iPad Mini.
No announcer. No claims. Nothing but 28 seconds of pure entertainment and 2 seconds showing the brand name. Yet you know within the first few seconds that this must be an iPad commercial. Which means you’re probably going to want to watch it through to the end, since Apple commercials are always imminently watchable. In this particular case, even the last note of the commercial is well thought out–the perfect finishing touch.
What I love most is how brilliantly–and incredibly simply–this spot conveys that the Mini does everything the regular iPad does. They don’t tell you that. And they only demonstrate one feature of the product. Yet it leaves no doubt that, as their print advertising cleverly claims, the Mini is “Every inch an iPad.”
And this commercial is every second a masterpiece.
October 16th, 2012 by admin
No comments »
Your brand is much more about what you do than what you say, and not many companies embrace that notion more than Red Bull.
For years Red Bull has done an impressive job of reinforcing its edgy, high-energy brand image by sponsoring a variety of edgy, high-energy publicity initiatives, but they really topped themselves with their sponsorship of daredevil Felix Baumgartner’s recent space jump from a height of 24 miles.
I mean, what could possibly be a better way to bring to life their tagline of “Red Bull Gives You Wings”?
What’s so admirable about this is the risk they were willing to take, and I’m not talking about the reported $7 million they spent on the program over the past several years. I’m talking about the damage that might have been done to their brand equity had Mr. Baumgartner’s jump had a tragic outcome.
However, this is clearly a smart company willing to take smart risks. They obviously knew that the scientists and engineers planning the jump knew what they were doing, so that the risk–while not zero–was not irresponsible. And they also knew that companies that aren’t willing to take smart risks aren’t likely to earn above-average returns.
As happy as I was for Mr. Baumgartner for his safe–and impressively upright–landing, I was equally happy for Red Bull. Theirs was a brilliant collaboration, and they both certainly earned their wings–not to mention the financial and other rewards they’re likely to reap in the months and years to come.
August 20th, 2012 by admin
No comments »
Advertising 14th floor
There’s an absurd mini-controversy brewing about whether Michael Phelps will be stripped of any of his medals because some Louis Vuitton ads in which he appears were leaked before the Olympics. (This will soon blow over, as it’s clear that neither Phelps nor Louis Vuitton intentionally violated the ban on pre-Olympics advertising.) Lost amidst all this needless angst is the fact that the above ad is absolutely brilliant.
When I saw it in last Thursday’s Wall Street Journal, I was was struck first by the elegance of the photo, and then by my curiosity over the “mystery woman” pictured with Phelps. When I read the fine print and learned that it’s Larisa Latynina–the woman whose record for 18 career Olympics medals Phelps broke–I could not have been more impressed. Talk about a classy idea…and a classy execution.
In almost all cases, I’m critical of ads that require you to read the fine print, simply because almost no ad is capable of getting a meaningful percentage of readers to do that. I’m also critical of ads without large, clean, creative headlines and, even more so, ads without prominent mention of the brand name or logo. However, when you have a stunning, provocative photo–and when that photo prominently features your highly recognizable product–it turns out you can be effective without a headline and without a large logo.
Please don’t try this at home, however; unless your product is as distinctive as a Louis Vuitton bag, and your art director and photographer are as gifted as the people who created this ad, going without a strong headline and strong logo is a sure route to a complete waste of your advertising dollars.
So just sit back and appreciate the above ad for being as much an exception to the rules of advertising as Michael Phelps and Larisa Latynina are to the sports of swimming and gymnastics.