Wednesday, 17 June 2015
One Product. Two Right Answers
Two companies. Perrier. Badoit. Both sell sparkling water. Both are French. Both have new campaigns out. Both are very different. And both are very strong.
Perrier (with Ogilvy Paris) created a fantastical, Gilliam-esque film, which reimagines the bubbles of its water as hot air balloons, packed with personality and wild adventures. It’s an engaging idea, playing upon the defining feature of fizzy water – its bubbles – and giving it a sense of fun and human energy.
More to the point, it’s a straight-up beautiful ad, a piece that looks and sounds great, and sweeps you up with its momentum.
(Admittedly they use “Hall of the Mountain King” which is about as done to death as any piece of music in advertising.)
But even that is a good choice for the spot, giving it a building power and tempo that suits the feel the creators were aiming for. It’s a fun way to talk about fizz.
BETC’s spot for Badoit takes a very different approach – still light-hearted, but now playing around with the history of the brand, centring on two young lovers running around a maze, their appearances transforming into those of different time periods as the film progresses.
Like Ogilvy’s work, it’s attractive and playful. But where the Perrier spot goes for the fantastical with CGI and madcap imagery, the Badoit film instead injects a fun contrast between the history of the brand, and the energetic youthfulness of its present.
So which is better?
I honestly couldn’t say.
The Perrier film certainly has more power (and let’s be honest, money) behind it – and it does show in the beauty of that ad. It's complex. It's vibrant. It's an eye-full.
But the work for Badoit has its own charm, both in its stripped-back simplicity and in the pure energy of its two characters.
Here’s the point. The truth is, I don’t want to choose between these ads. They both take on a similar problem, and similar products, and yet both give very different answers – both of which are hugely appealing.
Life gets boring when we start to think that there’s one formula for everything. And having different voices, even for similar products, is what grows the market, sparks the imagination – and makes people care.
You might have noticed this phenomenon when you were at university. In the sciences there is generally only one right answer to any given question. But in the humanities there is an infinite number of right answers to any given question – the challenge is in the execution.
So it’s promising when two similar brands come out with very different ads within weeks of each other. It means that there’s life in the market.
And it means that they care more about coming up with their own ideas than imitating the ideas of others.
It’s a good way to shake things up, and let them fizz.