Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Amazon Prime Will Save Your Wee Poorly Dog

Nothing like a cute animal to get you paying attention. This is a really nice, simple, soft-edged ad to promote Amazon Prime and its next-day delivery service.

Get stuff fast. Get whatever you need. Amazon Prime. That’s the gist.

This isn’t an ad chasing the shock factor. Instead it has a low key, rather fluffy delivery.

(And a rather fluffy dog, of course.)

But it’s also very on-message. It doesn’t miss a beat in terms of demonstrating the core selling point.
There’s a problem. Amazon Prime is the solution.

You could accuse it of being rather inoffensive, safe. To be sure, Concerned Mothers of Streatham aren’t likely to be up in arms against this campaign.

(Well, unless the concerned mothers of Streatham double as a consortium of local booksellers perhaps.)

So perhaps there are more aggressive creative strategies you could come out with. But this is an ad that is nice to watch. It’s an ad you don’t want to skip over. It’s cute and good humoured and has a fun pay off.

And an ad that is nice to watch should not be underestimated.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

A Little Ooh La La From Orangina

Here’s a nice little ad from our French cousins with their wacky shakeable fizzy drink, Orangina.

(Still not sure how that works. I have less than fond memories of being told that you could shake up Fanta as a kid.)

It’s a mild joy to watch, and it’s part of a broader pattern appearing on our screens and signs. There seems to be a bit of a charge of French brands into the UK market – with more than a little energy and √©lan. Teisseire is another, taking a jump into the UK market just this summer with its line of “sirops” (put simply, diluting drinks, in different flavours).

And then there is also that ongoing, quirky campaign from Chambord. 

You know, the one with the flamingos.

(I love advertising, just for these moments.)

Certainly this may be simply a play for the not-actually-that-small French segment of the London population. But I've also seen ads for both of these brands on boards in other cities in the UK. So clearly some non-Gallic people are partaking.

Beyond the product pushes, what’s really exciting is the sense of fun both fun and poise brought in each of these campaigns. It’s classic French style and seriousness and beauty, cut through with total irreverence. And somehow, the two contrasting thoughts complement one another. 

It's a strong idea, to balance the classic French brand appeal with a modern, open persona. Smart, sexy, silly ads.

It’s a simple premise in this Orangina spot really. It’s orange, and you shake it, so the ad shows a girl dancing around crazily in an orange lift. And shaking Orangina.

Actually what I really like about it is the “Grand Budapest Hotel” style it seems to play upon. Quirky. Retro. Definitely odd, but a lot of fun to watch.

(Has playing upon the styles of recent movies always been such a widespread thing, or am I just noticing it now?)

MAA critiques it for pulling its punches, not pushing to be controversial perhaps. But at the end of the day it’s just a fun, orange-y drink. Let’s not get too tied up in being clever or pushy. Not every product needs to be aimed at the 25-40 urban professional demographic.

Dance around. Don’t think too hard. Shake it up.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

A Brazilian Reasons Not To Smoke Cigarettes

(Just how many is a brazilian?)

There’s a crowded field of anti-smoking ads across the world, but some of them manage to stand out better than others. This is one of those ads, When Smoking Does Not Kill, for the Paran√° Health Department.

It’s easy to forget that smoking isn’t a “once you’re out, you’re good” kind of health risk. If you get hit by a car you don’t suddenly get whiplash a year later. If you swim with sharks they don’t follow you home.

But as this ad shows, you can stop smoking and find yourself suffering the after-effects as many as fourteen years later. Shock-moment ads aren’t all that rare when it comes to public health campaigns, but this one generates that shock well. Firstly by taking a new slant on information (the hidden, waiting risks). And secondly by playing around with the setting, undermining the last refuge of cigarette advertising in most countries – point of sale.

It’s true that we have the health warnings on cigarettes, a static reminder of the risks from the moment you buy. But it’s easy to throw some distance between yourself and an image, thinking subconsciously that it’s an exaggeration, or simply that it couldn’t happen to you. Good to see an ad that aggressively challenges that view, and the status quo.

Your cigarette seller has no larynx. What are you going to do now?

The only shame about this ad is that in reality, the vast majority of the audience are not going to be at that potent point of sale moment. The ad isn’t in fact going to be challenging people as they buy a cigarette. It’s challenging them while they sit at home. The video is what most people see, and the impactful part of the ad – that face-to-face interaction – is just a one-off event. So the impact is limited.

You see this a lot at the moment. Think of the “Pub Loo Shocker” in the UK in 2013, a scare video set in a pub toilet, designed to frighten people who might choose to drunk-drive. Interesting? Yes. Engaging? Of course. Viral? Certainly.

But if I’m drunk and about to step into a car my first thought isn’t going to be to look up viral videos.

The message and the execution of the Brazilian ad are extremely powerful. It’s just a shame there isn’t more of it; imagine if they could roll that exact scenario out across a country for a week.

You’d certainly generate more headlines. And you might just challenge a few more people in a serious way.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Dollar Shave Club Sends You High Quality Razors For Just A Few Dollars A Month

That’s the Dollar Shave Club messaging. 

It's a straightforward pitch, and a good tagline. And in many ways, the tagline above could be used to sum up exactly what is so effective about Dollar Shave Club’s marketing. To the point. Always on message. And with nothing wasted. One line tells you everything you need to know.

If you’re not already aware of Dollar Shave Club, firstly, be ashamed.

(I mean come on reader. Keep up with the times. Read your AdWeek.)

But more importantly, check out this ad:

That’s a great spot, but still more exceptional because it was made with no agency help, little equipment, and virtually no budget. And it was written by the company founders. Nine times out of ten that will leave you with a terrible ad that makes you embarrassed for the company that made it.

What makes it great? A sense of humour never hurts. But more importantly, a careful scalpel. It’s an old truism that it’s harder to write a little than to write a lot. And to create a great ad which gives all the details, makes all the selling points, and still captures the attention through brevity – that takes a knack for cutting in the right places.

(I have never felt so conscious of the length of an article. Just remember, only cut words don’t need, has make sense.)

The important point is that these guys aren’t marketing savants – though they certainly have talent.

This took effort. They drafted and redrafted, worked and reworked. They scanned their script over and over, questioning every part of their creation with no illusions or bias, until it was as short as possible – and impossible to cut further without compromising the message.

They knew they had limited resources, and only one film to make. So they set about making that film as singularly powerful and effective as they could.

Worth remembering from time to time. It’s not universally applicable in advertising. Breathing space can be good. But it’s worth examining your work from time to time, to see how much of it really needs to be there.

Shave off the extraneous. Sell as much as you can, in as little time as you have.