Why I like it: It’s rare these days to feature a piece of direct mail, but this one really stands out for its innovation…so unexpected, and hence quite delightful. The DM medium is beleaguered these days, but even the most tech-obsessed person watches this case video and says “wow…awesome!” The ease of interaction (no app downloads!), the transformation of a paper illustration into a “live” turntable, the blending of the old-world analog vinyl with the new-era digital playback, the fun interactivity (being able to move the needle is a key touch), and the pleasant subject matter (who doesn’t like to hear some tunes in the office?)…all just right, in a most charming way. Now, interestingly, what stands out here is the innovation (how they did it) much more than the idea itself. Yet, this is still clearly creative. Which begs the question, is technical innovation another form of creativity? I believe so. And the industry is increasingly recognizing it as a separate achievement/category. Perhaps the nuance is that innovation does not necessarily come pre-packaged with a soul…so it can be quite cold. The most powerful combination is when innovation is wrapped around an idea (ie, the soul), when the innovation elevates a strong idea. This is when things really start to shine. It’s the topic for a much broader discussion:)
Why I like it: Despite all the eye-popping breakthroughs of today’s audiovisual technology, we are often reminded that simple, old-fashioned, analog nature is a thing of unique wonder and fearsome power. And when you’re given a brief to sell a “product” as unique as nature itself, sometimes there’s no need to elevate it, or present it in abstract manner, or get very technical, or innovative, or fancy…just show it. That’s how special it is…just show it. It’s great that the creative team behind this was able to recognize that less can indeed be more. The clever writing is a nice complement and gives the ad texture, but really from the initial shot of the sandstorm, the viewer is hooked. A gripping start, great images and writing to sustain the attention, and the point is driven home decisively as our brave cameraman stumbles around in the storm. Elegant, understated, but very powerful. Just like the product.
Why I like it: This ad is thoroughly enjoyable, and ninja-efficient at getting the desired message across. Why “ninja”? Because the frenetic pace doesn’t give your brain time to really processes that the ad is for Dodge Dart…until it’s too late, and you’re utterly charmed and impressed and you’re “forced” to put this car in your consideration set! That’s really why it works! Here’s a dirty little secret – you know how in briefs one often reads of a marketing hurdle such as “Consumers are not aware of X brand and what it can do for them?” Alas, very often the sad truth would read like this: “Consumers ARE aware of X brand, but have decided it sucks, and thus mentally filter out all of brand X’s content even if they see it.” At least for me, that’s where Dodge exists. Until today. The ad is a gem: standard “car” information is all neatly conveyed: performance, design, mileage, price…But the trick is in how it’s done: a kinetic, machine-gun like pace that is instantly gripping, an us-against-them conspiratorial approach (you and us, viewer, versus the bean-counters from finance that said it couldn’t be done!) and a wry, hipster sense of humor that will resonate perfectly with the desired target. Considering the standard benefits, and the standard brand that it’s for, many would choose to stay away from this brief. What happens in the space between “this boring brief” and “this great ad”…that’s creativity.
Why I like it: “But wait…this doesn’t look like a tuna ad. Where are the smiles? Where is the consumption shot? And the family dinner-time shot? The energy is a low…too moody, the interest tracking is going to be low. Where is the reason to believe? The freshness? And surely moms can’t relate to being portrayed like this, the relevance scores are going to be under par. And we need the product up at the top, right now it’s in the very back, we need so much more branding.” Umm…how many tuna ads do you remember? Zero? Exactly. So when exactly did zero recall become a best practice (LINK score notwithstanding)? Our ideas must be different. They must take an unexpected route, to even have a chance. For every “best-practice-this-is-what-worked-before” convention, I can show you 20 “compliant” ads that pass like a ship in the night. I believe this Calvo ad is a winner, because it’s supremely interesting from the first 5 seconds on…and then never let’s go. And when it comes time to introduce the product it all makes sense, it comes together in a credible manner that releases the built up tension…and the overall result elevates the brand. Next brief you have, think of the 5 best ads in the category…then come up with something completely different.