Why I like it: Oh, I love this one so much. If you grew up in the West during the 80s, watch it right now. How blessedly different these VW ads are from the usual car advertising fare: winding roads, shifting into 5th gear, autumn leaves blowing in the asphalt, salt-lake drifting, and all the other generic nonsense! Breakthrough is the first step – without it you’re not even in the game! In this one they had me from the first second (the opening chord/illustration), and it kept me hooked with a great track, amazing animation, and fantastic little details (eg. the “80s dance” they are doing on second 26 – epic!) The brand/benefit feels a little more tacked on than in most VW ads of late, but it hardly matters – there is such a wellspring of positive vibe created by the preceding 30 seconds, that it would have worked just as well as a brand ad. Another strong effort from VW and Deutsch. It’s becoming a trend…I’ll have what they’re having, please!
Bonus content: I feel like some context is owed to my Chinese colleagues: in the West, the 80s were the peak time for music videos and semi-cheesy one hit wonder bands like the Norwegian “A-ha”. The song in the video was a huge international hit, in large part due to an extremely breakthrough music video, that everybody saw and remembers to this day. You can see it here or go to this link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914)
Why I like it: VW has reached a stage with their advertising where they just “make it look easy”. Like a seasoned basketball pro that can swish basket after basket, or an illustrator who sketches brilliant caricatures on demand, or a street musician that can play any tune on their piano…the VW reel of late is consistently and self-assuredly a level above the competition. This ad, like many that precede it, has a warmth that is not common in the category, along with the confidence to sell without over-selling. It has humor that delights, but does not overshadow. It appeals to the emotions, while still delivering a product message. It features the product, without breaking the narrative. It lets you think you’ve figured it out, and then turns the tables on you. And so forth. This stuff is really, really hard to do well! Yet VW has been doing it now for a couple of years… Four days ago they announced a global sales record for 2012. Coincidence? I think not.
Why I like it: I dare you. Watch this ad without smiling. You can’t. Watch this ad without getting a warm feeling. You can’t. That’s advertising gold. But there’s a big “IF”. It’s gold IF one is able to link the message with the brand/product, IF the good feelings are associated in the brain with the brand that brought them to you. That’s the big test. This ad is a very risky proposition, considering there is no car, no VO, no demo, no category, no brand, no nothing until the last 2 seconds! It could have been an ad for any product. The question is, will you believe that it comes from VW? Will you make the link? Will it affect your feelings for the brand and not just for life in general? For me the answer was “yes”, and thus I find this ad is a home run, a small gem. It works because VW has been doing amazing work it with its advertising over the last 2-3 years, giving us varying degrees of “car” information but always within a very human, very emotional shell. It works because it’s a part of a robust media plan with multiple messages that build up over time (people still remember “The Force” even a year and a half later). In essence, VW has worked hard over a period of time and has “earned” the right to issue this type of manifesto. And they’ve done it with staggering simplicity, elegance, and impact. I’d be shocked if this didn’t make the brand manager very nervous at first sight. I’d be shocked if this underwent extensive consumer testing, I’d be shocked if it survived quantitative testing. And yet…here it is! Kudos to Deutsch LA, what a shame it would be if advertisers and agencies did not take these chances every now and then, because these are the types of efforts that elevate our profession.
Why I like it: VW has been on somewhat of a virtuoso streak in the last couple of years, particularly in film. One inspired ad (say for example “The Force”) can be attributed in part to some good luck – after all, if there was a formula we’d all be doing it more often. But when you start seeing multiple great ads like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one or this one…from different agencies, from different countries around the world, and for different models…well then you know that something is going on…perhaps there actually is a formula! More likely it’s a philosophy about creativity that stems from one or two very talented people at the top of VW. I’d like to know more, because whatever it is, it’s working for me! This one above is one more in a line of really good ads. Simple as hell, focused on an interesting benefit that might seem small…but hooks you in (without this nothing else matters!) and leaves you with a warm feeling for the brand, crisply shot and expertly produced (the soundtrack is once again a difference-maker, as is the casting of the dog). Sometimes I fear we over-complicate things: deeply debating the human insight, the broad strategy, the maslow’s pyramid, this paradigm here and that global learning there…ultimately getting so invested in our own brilliance that we then feel it must ALL appear in the 30s ad…when all people want when they get back from work is to sit in front of a couch…not think too hard…and maybe crack a smile. Well done, once again for VW, who clearly gets this and makes it look easy!
Why I like it: The Chicago Cubs are one of those near-mythical teams in sports, with a rich history, a rabid fan base and a historical home stadium that all practically define the game of baseball. Yet, in one of those exquisitely painful ironies of sporting life, they have not won the Major League Championship in 103 years, the longest streak by far in major US sports teams, and probably also the world. That’s all you need to know to appreciate this fantastic ad. A compelling product benefit (it’s real-ness) brought to life in a way that is emotionally touching, briefly capturing the joy of victory and the agony of defeat. Exquisite production values (they got 250 extras and filmed in the actual stadium) make this ad soar from the beginning, and then it glides expertly into making a real statement about the product. Fantastic work from the LA office of Deutsch.
Every morning I scour the web and look at 10 random ads (in any medium) from around the non-US world. Then I post for you my Ad of the Day. Some days it will be awesome, some days you might not like it. But it’s the Ad of the Day!
Not much of note going on today in the international advertising world, so here’s a good one from the US of A…
Why I like it: Just watch it. Hooks you right in, and the payoff is entirely linked to a product benefit. Despite its late appearance chronologically, the ad is central to the idea, without it the ad doesn’t happen. This is just good, “technical” advertising. Not going to set the world on fire, but really very solid and memorable. (part of the reason that perhaps is not outstanding, is that I’m not convinced the sound system is the one thing you want to be talking about…but I admire them for picking on thing and sticking to it!). These are the same folks that hit a home run with their “The Force” ad in the last Superbowl, so a continued congrats, they’re really getting VW. Plus…I learned something new, ’cause I’ve sung those lyrics 1,000 times and I didn’t know the words:)