Thursday, 26 February 2015

Do Ads Have to Sell?

There’s an ad running in the UK right now for Freederm (a skincare, anti-zit brand). It’s all about a bird who gets sick of flying in formation and wants to be free. He flies off and gets up to hijinks around the world. The end tagline is “There’s nothing like being free” – and then it says Freederm. I love this ad.

I also really can’t think that it’s good advertising.

That might sound strange. But entertainment doesn’t equal advertising. And there’s the problem. That Freederm spot is fantastic, beautiful, playful – and it barely mentions the brand or the product.

Now at this point branding gurus may pop out of the woodwork to say that this is all about positioning, about creating good feelings about the brand. There’s a logic to that idea. Quite often brands do feel the need to bolster their popularity and their positivity.

But here’s the question. Has Freederm earned the right to make a spot that is just about branding – with nothing about its actual products? I don’t mean a moral right. They can advertise how they please. 
But broadcasting a branding position without having clear defined products is a risky business. McDonalds runs branding advertising because it also runs advertising about its products. I would argue McDonalds barely has to run product advertising anymore, its products are so well established that all that really needs to be said is the branding.

But can the same be said for Freederm?

That’s a difficult question. When I first saw the spot I would have said absolutely not. But with repetition I think a part of me is growing to accept it. Maybe it’s just that good. 

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