The tablet to create a better world. Really?

Romance reminds us we are alive. We revere it because it is good to us. It makes us hopeful – no matter who your significant other is, or is going to be. It’s no stretch then to understand why advertisers use it to sell products; it makes for that warm and fuzzy feeling we all like so much and, I am assuming, along with many, many, many other messages, this is what Motorola hoped to instil with their new tablet commercial – “Empower the People”.

It’s big. It’s pretty. And it’s pretty over the top. Set against the construct that we’ve all become drones in a world with little originality and self-expression, Motorola’s tablet commercial crafts boy-meets-girl, boy-likes-girl and boy-gets-girl – all because he has the Motorola tablet (in a nutshell). That alone is a bit weak if you ask me – but the weakness is overlooked because of the size of the commercial and its treatment. Still, it left me asking “what for?”

Love is strong enough to be your main theme – why confuse the issue with half-a-dozen others? The 1984 George Orwell reference irritates me. This novel is about a collectivist society – the ultimate Big Brother. But by advertising this product, you obviously want everybody to have a Motorola tablet, right? The problem with this is that then you are perpetuating the cycle. I just think there are too many messages here. Why? Because I bet there were too many cooks in the kitchen for this concept, script and shoot, and once again, you have a final product that has tried to make too many people happy.

Why not celebrate how the Motorola tablet simply makes you stand out from the crowd? The execution wouldn’t have to be dramatically different, but you could highlight how the individual can stand tall because of the help from Motorola. They make it clear that our male lead stands out because he is different. That’s one commercial all on its own. They then get lost and clutter it up with too many others – all because they want you to believe that the Motorola tablet is ‘the tablet to create a better world’. Really?

Sure – it’s visually impressive. He’s good looking, she’s pretty, and the tablet looks like a cooler than cool device, but I’m still not buying the message.

What do you think? Does this make you hopeful or remind you that you are alive?

It’s not about not-drinking

On a cold rainy night, Josh meets Kay for their second date. He has been lonely for a while now and is more than thrilled to have a second chance in these lovelorn-interviews of life. Two drinks later and a catch-up on their week, the second date has gone well and ends with a harmless peck on the cheek. He then calls his friends to find out where they are and heads off to meet them because, well, good news is shared news, right? Beaming and excited, it feels like his insides have woken up and he loves it – he hasn’t felt this good in years. A couple more drinks later, Josh decides to call it night. Glowing, he feels he’s had enough new interactions for the day and should sleep soundly. Little does he know… he won’t be getting much sleep at all.

Screaming, disbelief, red-and-blue lights and the exchange of questions-and-answers as lives are torn forever is what follows for Josh’s evening. Not what he had planned. Not what anybody in these situations would have planned. You could be Josh and this story could be yours. This is exactly what agencies like Mercury 360 in Bucharest and Agency Filadélfia, Belo Horizonte in Brazil are communicating with their latest offerings in the plight to highlight awareness around the repercussions of over indulgence (and then some).

With alcohol being the third leading cause of death in the USA, it is no surprise that the need for awareness around this topic may never let up. In South Africa, they say that for every seven cars you share the road with at night, one driver is drunk. Hence the global need for communications like these – powerful in their own right and with a focus that draws attention to the reality of what happens in the aftermath. There has to be better ways to meet new people – a message from the Bucharest Traffic Police. This is a hard-hitting reminder that no amount of fun can be worth the unfolding drama that may follow an accident caused by alcohol consumption.

Agency Filadélfia, Belo Horizonte’s execution for the AA is a chilling reality-check that alcohol addiction isn’t fussy: it can happen to – and affect anybody. It’s about who bears the scars other than the obvious culprit. People who have families, homes and love – things that can be lost in a moment.

I don’t think that these ads can be argued in a ‘for’ or ‘against’ manner. That’s not the point. And, come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever seen a weak execution of a public service announcement in this category. If you aren’t sold on the image then the copy is the clincher. And in terms of television commercials, there are plenty out there to grab you by the bootstraps and make you see.

For the most part, the overarching theme that any of us can connect with is what works. You may know somebody, be somebody or fear somebody that abuses alcohol. It’s never fun and the after effects almost always live longer than the abuse and over-use does.

It’s not about not-drinking. It’s about knowing the difference between wanting and needing.

Do you think the war will ever be won?

Beyond Smart

BMW Advertising has always seemed effortlessly elegant; the perfect combination of haughty confidence and alluring charm – the boys club you always wanted to belong to. The latest print execution by Ireland/Davenport exemplifies my theory in one perfect image while offering an honourable salutation to their Television Commercial from over two decades ago. With it, the agency has been able to capture the attention of both an old and a new audience in one clean-cut execution.

Kids will look at the mouse on the steering wheel and grasp the concept immediately. Anyone who grew up in the 80s will know that this reincarnation is a nod to the Television Commercial that announced power steering in the BMW 318i – by way of a memorable performance from one little mouse. Directed by Keith Rose of Velocity Films, the TV ad shook the industry at the time, drawing attention to the ingenuous importance of what it is you put in front of the camera – despite what may be going on behind it. Less is more and this too was beyond smart!

They say you can now book opera tickets, order for your latest book-fad from and do just about whatever else you may like to do online – all in the comfort of your own car. This worldwide first is definitely a coup for German driving giant BMW, and what better way to say it than through a clean, clever and sharpshooting print ad that tells you what it needs to – just like that.

(Beer) Boys will be Boys

Now we’re talking! Boys will be boys – and why should they be any different when it comes to competing for the last beer? The storyline is that basic and it’s perfect – because it doesn’t need to be anything deeper. What would the point be? Doesn’t beer sell itself? It’s beer. ‘Course it does!

Arm wrestling gets taken up a notch for Tiger beer when each player vies for the last beer in dramatically unfolding new incarnations – and what a visual spectacular the revelations are! Shape shifting never looked cooler on its way to the beer buzz and when you finish off with a hot blonde… well, most guys would say you had them at ‘hello’.

What’s impressive is the realism within the non-realism. From the featured extra’s to the hero in each scenario, these guys take this realm of comedy seriously – and look serious. There’s a little lesson in that somewhere (take note insurers); don’t act. Be. Even if being a Tarzan jungle junkie isn’t relevant today. Make it look hot, deliver a performance that respects the VFX being done (and vice versa) and you’ve got a memorable movie that supports the brand and its reputation.

A goodie all round. What do you think?

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