A simple bit of advice. It is not enough for an ad to have a cool gimmick, the gimmick needs to have a point.
There is nothing that annoys me more than creatives producing ads centered around a cool gimmick when that gimmick doesn’t back up a message. One key advice I always give is that it is not enough for an ad to have a cool gimmick, that gimmick needs to make a point.
My frustration with pointless gimmicks was recently awoken by the current Ford print ad for Ford Israel (see below). The ad looks to promote the new Ford Explorer’s Park Assist feature which aims to ‘help you park easily.’
The ad centers around an optical illusion, with the copy prompting the viewer to “Stare at the black dot for 30 seconds. Move your eyes to the empty parking space. See how easy it is to park.” It is not the first time an optical illusion has been used in an ad, but it is the perfect example of when gimmicks go wrong. Asking an audience to stare at an ad for 30 seconds requires a big punchline, sadly, this ad fails to deliver.
Now, I have stared at this ad on numerous occasions and each time, my eyes ram the SUV into the parked cars which gives the opposite message to that intended; it is not easy to park with Park Assist, actually it is rather hard and you leave the ad feeling frustrated, unimpressed and confused. Whilst the gimmick may have seemed like a fun way to promote a feature, with no substance the ad falls flat on its face.
The advertisement is a great example of the importance to make sure your ad backs up its message. Creatives often get too caught up in fun gimmicks forgetting the soul importance of an ad, its message.
Being the Founder of the ethical advertising agency We Are Good, I’m always on the lookout for cool upcoming eco companies. Today, Sprout grabbed my attention. Sprout is an ingenious little invention and world first, branded as ‘the pencil that grows.’
The idea is simple, in a bid to tackle throw-away culture, users when done with their Sprout pencil, can then pot it and watch it grow into a plant. Tomato, basil, green peppers, rosemary and egg plants are just a few of the types of seed up for grabs.
Sprout has a lot of eco credentials going for it too. Handmade in Minnesota, USA the pencils are non-toxic and contain absolutely no lead. The seeds inside the pencils are organic and each pencil contains around 5 pesticide-free seeds, exact number depends on the type of herb.
There is nothing more exciting than when a brand utilizes technology and does something really unique with its advertising. Apotek’s advert blew Swedish commuters away with its innovative thinking and clever placement strategy.
The idea was brilliantly simple, incoming trains in a Stockholm subway triggered ultra sonic sensors on an interactive digital billboard on the platform and caused the model’s hair in the ad to move. A genius way to introduce a new line of hair products.
LG’s new OLED-TV is 4mm thin. A product feature they wanted to push in their advertising. M&C Saatchi, the agency in charge of the account, discovered that the spine of the ‘Sound & Vision’ magazine was also 4mm thick and decided to use it as a print ad opportunity to push LG’s TV.
A nice idea, but how many people actually read magazine spines? Would it go unnoticed?
In this very clever albeit cruel stunt ‘Trojan Mailing’, DHL get their competitors to advertise for them. UPS and other delivery services were tricked into delivering parcels which were in fact just moving billboards advertising DHL. The idea involved covering delivery boxes in thermo-active foil which hid DHL’s sneaky message when cool. The package’s delivery addresses were purposefully hard to find so that when the secret message was revealed ‘DHL is faster’ it would have even more impact. Even though delivery men saw the message, they obviously had no choice but to deliver the parcels.
Whilst this might seem the work of an evil genius, I could not help but think that there seemed something fishy about this stunt. It seemed slightly too cruel. I was right. DHL have admitted that they have had nothing to do with the advert. Who even knows if it was real or staged. Seems like an ad agency is trying its hardest to get noticed. A plan which has worked well with the video reaching far over a million views at the time of posting. It is a shame DHL was not behind it, it is refreshing to see brands push boundaries and not afraid to play dirty in doing so.
Sony have tapped into the idea that music is the ‘ultimate performance enhancer.’ However, as they point out there is one place where it is hard to listen to it, in the pool. The brand’s response was to create a Waterproof Walkman which apparently, is the first of its kind, and they have created a fun and clever way of promoting/packaging it. Sony packaged their Waterproof Walkman in bottles of water and placed them in vending machines across gyms worldwide. As Mashable puts it ‘Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.’ A very confident and bold move.
Whilst it is a great idea that truly gets across the product’s USP, the idea has been done before. German watch maker Festina sold their waterproof watch in bags of water http://bit.ly/1hbHXlT.
A smart move by Sony though, and one that certainly caught a niche markets attention. At $100 however, it is probably the most expensive bottle of water one can buy.
Social Media is an invaluable tool. If used correctly it can create a real personality for a brand and gain them lots of new customers. Two perfect examples of this happened last week.
One was a Twitter rap battle between Tesco Mobile and O2. Tesco surprisingly beat the king of social media O2, providing much better copy and generally being more on the ball. O2 was made out to be the uncool kid when it tried to promote its Be More Dog campaign in the rap battle.
The other example was Twitter banter between the brands Innocent, O2 and Tango. Again O2 tried to promote its Be More Dog campaign by hijacking a picture of a puppy that was tweeted by smoothie company Innocent.