Pets get stressed too

Euro RSCGs print campaign works – I can definitely believe pets get stressed. We had friends when I was growing up that owned a German Shepherd named Bonnie. Bonnie believed that everything was an emergency, until her tail pushed an automatic BMW into gear and she drove it through closed gates and into a garage door. Then of course she was nowhere to be seen. So Euro RSCGs print campaign for ‘nurtureline calmdog’ makes perfect sense to me. Even if it means Bonnie (the dog) and Granny here trade driver’s seats – stress is stress. Why shouldn’t we get the buzz we need?

Click image to enlarge. Advertising Agency: Euro RSCG, Johannesburg, South Africa; Creative Director: James Daniels; Art Director: Romy Lunz; Copywriter: Balekane Mokoditoa; Photographer: Michael Meyersfeld; Retoucher: Rob Frew; Published: 2010

Ambient Marketing! Capture an audience. Incite some giggles.

Because it relies on time-and-location specific elements, ambient marketing can either rock your socks off – or leave you dismal that you were left out. If it’s the latter, sorry for you. Ultimately, it should capture an audience, incite some giggles and get shoppers into your store. While they are there claiming their free gift – sell them something else. If you can do this while using your imagination on a teeny tiny budget – you can make some waves and win over new consumers.

“Catch a photo of a Sundae and get one for free” was the promise from McDonald’s. They did the same with a cup of coffee and a pie, and invited those who were quick on the camera-phone draw to toddle 150m down the road and claim their free prize. No strings attached. There’s no problem of the promo costing the organisation too much moola, because of the time-specific window that the promotion works in. Those who thought they’d bluetooth or MMS the image to their friends and help them out with a free-whatever, would more than likely come up short. And, if their friend made it in time? Well, look. If you are that desperado for a free pie, be McDonald’s’ guest!

Nice use of imagination from DDB Sweden to talk to local consumers and shoppers, while driving volumes.

6 Billion people on the planet. One bore her soul.

There are over six billion people on this planet. That’s six billion opinions, thoughts for and against. Against Palestine. Against Israel. Wagers in the war against terror. Think then, what will we wage in the war against HIV?

We are moved in so many different ways. We are angered quickly. We choose to fight before we choose to hug. If we could be moved to be more involved, we might be getting somewhere. Isn’t storytelling the easiest way to spread the word and be understood? Pictures are not limited to languages or translations, and although they may paint preconceived notions of with whom and where this disease exists, they certainly get the message across.

At the 57th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, Ogilvy Johannesburg won South Africa’s first Gold Film Lion in 11 years for The Topsy Foundation; a spot produced by Egg Films in Cape Town. Many people opened their hearts to take this story from concept to completion. Many people gave of their time. Some may have confronted their fears. One person bore her soul. In a world where Susan Boyle, Lady Gaga and Avril Lavigne break records on YouTube with hundreds of millions of hits, we sit with less than a collective 25 000 views globally of an 85-second Public Service Announcement that has only one message you should really want to know: The effects of AIDS can be reversed.

Buckle up. Or buckle under.

It’s no joke. Death. Mourning. The financial issues. An absent parent. All the elements creators are playing on here, and just why they go from funny to everything but funny in 90 seconds. To me, the young girl’s performance is the most memorable in this spot, produced by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership. Tangible and vulnerable enough to convey who would suffer the most from the unthinkable; enlivened in a simple setting with direction that takes this moment from light to dark in slow motion.

A thousand shiny moments are not that pretty when it’s the glass from your windscreen and not a kiddies table, covered in sequins and thrown into the air. “Embrace Life. Always wear your seat belt” – portrayed in this treatment by those who would be left most affected should the driver make it through the accident without one on. After seeing this, you’d have to be a moron not to wear yours.

Buckle up. Or buckle under.

Personality and originality

What a nice 20” this would make! The first half of this TVC for Johannesburg’s newest rapid rail transport system is spellbinding. It is inviting and commanding while showing off personality and character as it dances across faces and through hair. I think it gets a little bit carried away though and the more it does, the less memorable it is. The cheesy grins take over honest smiles and the flying dog? Well, who can say?

Too much is just too much. 25 seconds less in this case would have been a commercial novella – at just the right length! Not faulting the way the story is being told, shot or directed, but maybe the second half should have been left for the “making-of” reel.

What do you think?

Blah blah boring yawn

Do you love it when you have to swoon over desert sand and grumpy looking men who take themselves verrry seriously, scowl at the camera (you) like it’s your fault they are lost in the desert and all alone, and then tell you how they love it though? Then you must hop in your car with haste and dash to the pretty shop. There you will find CK Free and you must purchase several immediately. That’s how ads are supposed to work, aren’t they?

Apparently this one made some people over at Ornico sit up and take notice.

I never said it was good. I said it made them sit up and take notice.

Dolphin for dinner?

Bank ads have always elicited opinion because most of them don’t walk the walk they’re talking. “Why would a bank be interested in people’s values?” asks the opening voice over on this ad I found. The answer stands behind the obvious messaging that with a shortage of sea life still lies an interesting tale of survival vs morals. This commercial walks the walk of Advertising for me. You will remember it tomorrow. And with powerful imagery and performances, it proves that actions – and visuals – speak louder than words.

Hungry, cold and tired men work hard to feed and provide, but, as the message is so strikingly laid bare before us, there are still decisions to be made at every turn. Check out HSBCs ‘Personal Responsibility’ by JWT London.

What choice would you make?

What’s so ridiculous about this?

TIVO and PVR yelled at Advertising and warned it to shift from its place on the gurney, as it rapidly approached the bright light gateway to somewhere else. More so now than ever is TV Advertising’s need to get in and out, leave an impression and move on before its audience does. Advertising (*spoiler alert for those who missed the memo*) is already an interruption to just about every unthinking couch potato. So it’s no longer what you do or how you do it, it’s about doing it differently. Miles Young, Global CEO of Ogilvy himself talks about advertising’s need to become seamless in its positioning within content so that it plays the same role of maintaining audience attention – with obviously different consequences.

Why then do we still have ads – *cough* … like some a little further down on this site – that voluntarily elect themselves as all things annoying? Take a leaf from FoxP2 if you will, ya’ll. Here are some examples of 20” memorable moments. Sure, they are not all as good as each other, but these will have you giggling at the conceptualisation that went before production and leave you appreciative of the art therein.

The ads are for Dairy Board and depict a Chicken, Seagull and Tortoise performing feats of strength because they have had a dose of some decent dairy. I think the voice over’s could have been better and a lot more realistic but the visual impact is enough to win you over.

In order of preference:




Better than Boerizza?

Friday Fever

Music is what feelings sound like.

You might want to race into the weekend or you may just want to ease into it slowly. Here’s a little something for one or the other, and sometimes there will be something for both.

To ease…

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.” – Sergei Rachmaninov

Award winner for Joe Public’s Roman’s Pizza

Wait. That’s not right. The awards were for several other things on several other accounts. All the same, they just can’t get enough with this momentum, can they? Client must have a pretty decent budget, but, that begs the question: have they spent any of it on market research? I can only shrug and assume so, because someone is buying into this advertising tripe and going out to buy this stuff. I know that with almost 7billion people on this planet, you can’t make everybody happy all of the time. Neither should you have to. But if you are being paid to handle a client’s account, the least you can do is your job. If I am seeing this, you have failed with your attempts on placement and are definitely speaking to the wrong audience. I like pizza. But since this campaign, would rather go hungry than order from Roman’s.

I have a few more questions:
• Why hasn’t some octogenarian from Bez Valley called the ASA yet and complained about the whole dancing on the front of the bonnet effort? (Their last ad had to be pulled.)
• What’s happening at the 27” mark? Phone camera recording ditz? Sure. Likely to happen.
• Mark Lottering look alike in the closing shot?

Apparently they are selling by the truck load, and don’t profess to be aiming their messaging at the high brow consumer. Oh good. They won there.

Please stop it? Please don’t do anymore ads?

Masterminds at eTV create the untouchable studio

Must be no one at work at 05h44. No one save for these spearheads of hot debate and television masterminds. I’m not that interested in the topic; why Visagie felt he had to throw a perfectly good and defenceless mic system on the floor, or why political analyst Lebogang Pheko thought her outfit was a good idea that morning. I just want to know no one cut away to a boerizza ad? I bang my fists on the table with head thrown back asking the same question over and over again! Why did no one cut away?

Good ads or bad ones, there are plenty of them around. So many in fact, that a live editor should be spoilt for choice when sitting with a dashboard of editing equipment in front of him or her, and a live feed to commandeer to a news-hungry audience. So, what happens when something like this does? When things go awry and the pertinent debate in studio goes from news to notorious? Well, err, nothing if you work at eTV. You can just kick back and stare open mouthed at the unfolding mess on screen as it is happening in studio. Don’t panic. Don’t react. And most importantly, DO NOT deny the kind people at home the opportunity to see the same thing you are.


Burnt Advertising. Good idea gone bad.

You know the feeling. A commercial starts so nicely you can’t help but being pulled in. You lean forward in your seat and wait for the double-clutch moment that drives home the message with style. The music, the lighting, the direction and the performances all work in harmony to tell you a story about the product, and why you shouldn’t want to live without it. Seems simple enough. Anyone working in advertising will tell you it’s not though and that the road to advertising-redemption puts every creative at a crossroads everyday, with every job.

With every story, movie or message comes the moment where you can liberate your message and leave it indelibly in the minds of your audience, or you can so badly misunderstand why you went into advertising in the first place, and lose the plot altogether that another day at the office should be questionable. “Burnt Toast” for Warburtons Bread by RKCR/Y&R in the UK ticks all the latter boxes for me. When does something go from witty to worthless, or clever to clumsy? Watch this TVC and to check it out. It happens at the 19” mark. The idea’s a seller. The execution is not. The fine line between ‘success’ and ‘silly’ is crossed and they have done themselves a disservice. It was so close to being there but didn’t quite make it, and unlike bread that has been in the oven too long, it is more like a premature baking flop. Pity. Nice William Orbit tune though.

Did it work for you?

Ripe and ready. The Magners method.

Camaraderie is such an inspiring human behaviour to witness. Anyone watching the World Cup will agree. So while ball-sports are the order of the day, Magners Irish Cider is still on the guest list. A little different in pace to what dominates our lives this June and July, 2010 – and therein lies the memorable moment.

UK based agency The Red Brick Road aligns the story of a small town cricket team having been unbeatable for a record 75 years – the same amount of time they have been harvesting apples for Magners Cider. Ageing cricket players teamed with younger fitter ones make up a team of players that seem to get their practice from their lifestyle and livelihood – they never miss a falling cider apple. Practice makes perfect and this team is very definitely getting the right practice. Great performances and nice direction result in a clean-cut message.

I don’t think their print ad is as powerful however. I’m not sure whether it is a tighter execution to the copy that would have made it as memorable as the TVC or a different choice of visual. The languid man doesn’t look like he is having to trust his senses but rather that he is looking for the answer to life from an apple. Both will resonate with an audience in partnership with the other however, so the campaign is no doubt a sure hit. What say you?

Come as you are. Gay burgers accepted.

We’re ok with two men holding guns, but two men holding hands? Not so much. Read it anyway you want, there’s still a long way to go before everyone gets the same acceptance in everyday situations, no questions asked. So it’s quite something when a brand attaches itself to homosexuality with favour. Few have done it, but those who have, have certainly made a statement. Ergo, I like the French offering from McDonald’s called “Come as You Are”. There is little more affecting than the elephant in the room when one person has a secret to tell and assumes the other is not going to want to hear it.

What resonates for me with this spot is that no product or promo is being sold and there is no cheesy exchange of service brilliance. There is simply a soothing reminder that everyone is welcome at McDonald’s, told tenderly between furtive whispers, nervous glances and a moment of suspense in the climax where a son sees that the distance between him and his father is nothing but obvious.

Television commercials are wonderful opportunities to tell stories that leave an indelible impression. This one wins and delivers realistic performances in a neatly packaged spot that successfully puts the brand into the subject of conversations. In a few days, you will still remember who it was for, you are likely to tell a friend, and where it goes from there is only limited to the vast atmosphere of social networking. I’m sold, are you?

What the BOERIEZZA are you trying to say here?

Crisis of note when something like this gets passed all writers, creative directors and by an act of somebody-still-has-a-job-but-I’m-not-sure-how, gets approved. Or, was it asked for by the client?! Is the “…lekker cheap and cheesy, but so is our pizza…” slogan supposed to excuse or save this bad presentation, or how the concept is being communicated?

Consumers are actually quite smart, and as the margins are blurred between socio economic backgrounds with the ‘aspirational’ crossing the street to where the ‘previously advantaged’ used to live, it seems marketing and advertising might be ignoring this and simply getting more desperate. This example certainly is. Who exactly is Roman’s Pizza trying to reach here? Do they even know? Experts say that the smart grid is dumb without smart consumers. What then are Roman’s saying about theirs? I’m not saying that pizza lovers necessarily expect a high brow, strategic message, but really now… this is just taking the piss.

We’re all consumers. And even though it’s staggering to acknowledge, so are the guys who wrote this drivvel up and believed it would rock the socks off a pizza loving audience. That was their second mistake. Their third is that they have since sadly made another in the series which means that, even if they can read, seeing this post might mean nothing to them. I’m worried to find out whether sales of this product have impressed… What do you think?

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