Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Like That

My favourite strapline at the moment comes from an unlikely source, a cosmetics brand, namely No.7 (owned by Boots). They've made a line that is simple and brilliant. Frankly (given it's been around for a year or so) I am surprised I haven't seen it before.

Ta Dah!

That's just wonderful.

A two word summary of everything the product is and does, in a phrase that has positivity without being cliched or patronising. It says everything that "Maybe she's born with it" or "Because you're worth it" does, but in fewer words. Even the voiceover says it with such enthusiasm and a tone that feels warm and contagious.

This is one of those lines that needs some good media behind it, because it's so clear and so simple that I can see people taking to it and turning it into a shared bit of culture around make up and cosmetics. Woman walks into the room with her friends and they all go "Ta Dah!".

Great work. The only drawback with a line that great is that it deserves magnificent creative ideas to show it off, I hope they can live up to it.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Meet the Super-ad

It's not often that an ad makes a fundamental change to our society or impacts in any meaningful way on the way we live our lives.

Having seen the lasting excitement around the Paralympics at London 2012, I am starting to wonder if we can put Channel 4's incredible Superhumans ad into that category.

Apparently the ad has already been rated by Trevor Beattie as already being the ad of the year.With good reason too. It is a triumphant example of what happens when great planning works together with great creative. A brilliant idea and execution that pushes a wonderful bit of thinking, reframing the Paralympics from the not quite as good follow up, to the celebration of human willpower, determination and battling adversity.

But more importantly, it looks like it has had a huge impact on public perception and interest in the games.

Looking at the time that has gone by, I honestly believe that without that piece of communication building the excitement and anticipation of the games, significantly more people would have forgotten and lost interest in them by time the post Olympic gap had finished.

Given that the public is embracing these Paralympic games like never before, this means the ad is partly responsible for the brilliant things that are taking place:
  • Millions are watching paralympic sport for the first time
  • Public interest is driving media interest in the Paralympics and athletes - which in turn is driving public interest
  • We are seeing Paralympians not as disabled athletes, but as athletes - cheering for them and wanting them to win whilst barely registering that they have a disability.
  • People are starting to understand better what you can and cannot do/say around people with disabilities, reducing the stigma and nervousness some people have
  • People are increasingly respecting paralympians for their effort, drive and achievement - turning what used to be sympathy (and maybe being a little patronising) into real empathy and respect.
  • The support toward paralympians is driving conversation and debate around the general treatment of those with disabilities by people and the government - hopefully being the start of long term changes to destroy disability discrimination once and for all
  • Britain is leading the way for supporting disabled athletes, and other countries are noticing

So I think we can argue, Superhumans is not just a great bit of creative work with great thinking, it has been effective too, perhaps (in a way) helping to fundamentally change the treatment of those with disabilities in the UK, and influencing those abroad to do the same.


Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Bleeding Hell

Is it irony that offices of the same agency made this ad too?
I don't like to criticise ads in an unconstructive way, because I know how hard it is to create good campaigns, and to get those good campaigns through the client.

But sometimes you see an ad that just has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and there is little you can do but wonder how in the name of all things creative that monstrosity ever got to air.

 May I introduce you to the Colgate Pro Gum Health ad. 30 seconds that single-handedly takes advertising back 30 years. Their recent ads have all been poor, but at least they were just simple, style free ads that showed you some product and information while interacting with what seemed like normal people.

This ad though, commits some unforgivable cardinal sins of advertising.

  • Let's start with the 'real' people who couldn't look more like actors if they had their equity cards held up in front of their face.
  • Dialogue that tries to sound natural but feels stiled, fake and irritating, while acted in a way that feels so incredibly posed that it makes you want to laugh.
  • There's the 'focus group leader' who looks like he has been recruited based on his looks alone.
  • Oh and not forgetting the absurdly comic 'ask your dentist' ending with mind-bogglingly silly photo. (I actually did burst out laughing the first time I saw it).
  • Additionally, as mentioned by @AJ_ay_it the stylistic approach to branding of plastering everything in the logo COLGATE COLGATE COLGAAAAATTTTEEEE! , and that this researcher should be reported to the MRS for his selling..!
What decade are we living in?

This ad couldn't feel more dated if it was shot in black and white and fronted by someone who is dead. It talks to people in a way that seems to presume they have all the intelligence of a intellectually challenged loaf of bread. If you want people to understand the facts then just tell them in a compelling way, don't break out sales tactics that would be laughed at even by Alan Sugar.

I find it hard to believe that a creative agency could produce this, an ad completely devoid of any charm or creativity whatsoever. I don't know whether this is the fault of the agency or the client, but this kind of advertising will not engage or inspire anyone. Telling the facts can be a good strategy, but not like this. I spoke to someone at another agency who said it felt so negative that he was actually thinking about giving up using Colgate. I say this as someone who has been a loyal Colgate user for over a decade, their products are good, but talking about them in this way is just horrific.

It's not 1955 anymore Colgate.