P&G “Mom” Olympics TV ad

Video

Here is a US ad that has over 4 million views on YouTube.

Many will have participated in the website by sending “Mom” a message of thanks at: http://www.facebook.com/thankyoumom

It was mentioned by BBH’s John Hegarty at Cannes this year in his light-hearted session with Dan Wieden.

Being a fan of BBH, I keep an eye on his comments from Cannes and particularly liked his blunt assessment of much of the work he sees.

This P&G ad is treading familiar, but tricky emotive ground. The old “mom got me here through her dedication to supporting my sport” and presumably cleaning the kit with P&G product. It has been done before in relation to cleaning products, but this certainly isn’t about getting the grime out of the muddy shorts and sweatshirt sort of stuff.

Getting the emotional tone right in an ad is a very hard thing to do.

There was a brilliant P&G Pampers ad that got it right for parents.

On this P&G Olympics ad Hegarty said in conversation with Dan:

“If I had been passed that script and read it I might have vomited. The vomit factor was high if you got it wrong, but you really made it work.
“You have to make sure that the emotions are relevant. It really could have backfired on this.”

Yet again John reverts to the basic principle of relevance to prove the point.

The relevance of this ad to the journey, people and products is there and it is a truly inspiring ad for that reason. Consumers are savvy enough to recognise P&G’s involvement in this journey without seeing too many tubs and tumble dryers.

When I was lucky enough to work at BBH, John said that all advertising strategy needed to be “relevant, interesting and motivating”. I’ve stuck by this and found it to be the best test of a creative idea.

Clearly Hegarty still believes in the basics.

The best ad from Cannes – Guardian open journalism: “Three Little Pigs” TV ad – the Guardian

Video

Logo of the British newspaper The Guardian

The Guardian newspaper in the UK has a long history of great advertising.

The classic Points of View TV ad is one of the best.

This ad (even at 2 minutes) is my choice from Cannes, although it didn’t bring home the bacon in terms of awards…

It communicates a complicated message of the breadth of Guardian coverage through a brilliantly constructed creative examination of a story we all know. Entertaining, interesting, relevant and motivating by underpinning the credentials of a great paper that is still innovating in the digital world.

A very different perspective and very much what the Guardian brand stands for.

McCann Melbourne creative director Annie Price.

Price has urged Aussie marketers and agencies against treating people like “idiots”, and has held up the highly regarded ‘The Little Pigs’ campaign by BBH as an example of the type of advertising the local industry should be striving for.

She told AdNews: “There’s not much Australian advertising can’t learn from this stunning commercial.

“It’s intelligent. It’s entertaining. It’s beautifully produced and so gripping, it has you coming back for more and more. It really is storytelling at its finest. There’s no doubt who it’s for and you’re left feeling compelled to go and buy a paper.

“It’s the intelligence of the Guardian commercial that most impressed me.

“No denying we make some great ads in Oz.

“But sadly, Australian TV screens are still full of a disproportional amount of commercials that treat people like idiots. Ads that assume that we are sitting there on the edge of our seats, just waiting to be informed about toilet cleaner, muesli bars or moisturiser by a moronic presenter. It’s 1950s advertising without the lovely retro outfits and atomic burst laminate.

“Clients and agencies alike would do well to remember that consumers are getting their information from so many sources nowadays, TV is not king. For us to truly impact on someone’s life via TV, and make a real connection, we’d better be smart about it and we’d better not insult his or her intelligence.”

Hahn Cannes Gold Winner – Super Goes in Super Dry comes out

Video

Hahn by Publicis Mojo wins, but by the skin of it’s teeth as it wasn’t originally shortlisted and got in via a wild-card vote (another peculiar aspect to Cannes voting).

In such a tough category, an interesting choice. Maybe it’s the Night Rider music as much as the action that makes it memorable? It certainly stands out from the beer crowd and has been recognised for the fact.

Cannes Lions Press Grand Prix Winner – “Benetton’s Unhate” Kissing Ads From Fabrica, 72andSunny

Cannes Press Grand Prix Goes to Benetton's Kissing Ads From Fabrica, 72andSunny

Having just posted about John Hegarty and his view on the state of current advertising (i.e. the ads aren’t good enough). It seems apt to look at the Cannes press Grand Prix winner.

Benetton’s provocative “Unhate” campaign showing world leaders kissing, created by Italian agency Fabrica with help from 72andSunny in Amsterdam got the prize.

Three executions were honored—the ones with U.S. president Barack Obama and Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez; Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu; and German chancellor Angela Merkel and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Absent was the campaign’s most incendiary image—a photo of Pope Benedict XVI kissing a senior Egyptian imam which was pulled almost immediately after the campaign broke last November.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said in a statement cited by The Guardian, after slamming the image as “entirely unacceptable.”

“It is a serious lack of respect for the pope, an affront to the feelings of the faithful and an evident demonstration of how, in the field of advertising, the most elemental rules of respect for others can be broken in order to attract attention by provocation,”

The White House was not amused:

“The White House has a longstanding policy disapproving of the use of the president’s name and likeness for commercial purposes.”

Jury president Tham Khai Meng said that Benetton “has heart impact and gut impact and promotes a global debate”.

Steve Jones, a British juror at the French Riviera event said: “The reason we chose this is because it stood out on the wall… It’s not like traditional advertising. It’s not making a point about the clothes, its brand history. It doesn’t obey the rules.”

  • True – but aren’t we judging ads not art and don’t the rules of the sale or effectiveness make it great advertising?

His sentiments were echoed by co-juror Komal Bedi Sohal, from the UAE, who added: “You can like it, you can dislike it, you can’t ignore it.”

  • True – but is an arresting image that you can’t ignore the best criteria to judge advertising? Surely any brand could spend the money to publicize an amazing and provocative image, but only a few can make an arresting image that is relevant and sells the product?

The campaign was started in the ’80’s by Oliviero Toscani who was the creative mind behind the controversial work that turned Benetton into a household name.

Toscani was Benetton’s creative director for 18 years from 1982 to 2000. By the height of his success, Toscani was known for his arrogance and drama (and loss of perspective perhaps!), but his first campaign for Benetton in 1982 used teddy bears to model the children’s clothing line. More traditional than you might think.

Twenty-five years ago, Benetton shot to global fame with its controversial line and campaign – all the colors of the world (which became United Colors of Benetton). At the time, whilst controversial, this campaign seemed to reflect the irreverence of the brand as well as the physical nature of the product which featured a wash of primary colours. 

The original United Colours was one of the great campaigns, differentiated from the category and relevant to the brand personality and primary product ranges.

Later efforts veered into the weird and wonderful – hearts, lungs, HIV tattoos and just-born babies come to mind.

I would argue that as the campaign veered off a relevant course for the brand (it’s a clothing line and store…), the fortunes of the brand took a nose dive. The figures prove it.

In the ’80’s when Benetton needed to generate awareness amongst a naive public, the notoriety of the campaign had an impact. It then became self-indulgent in the extreme and the company has not recovered.

There were a number of ads featuring HIV in one way or another, such as the famous photo of dying AIDS activist David Kirby taken in his hospital room in the in May 1990, with his father, sister and niece at his bedside. The photograph by Therese Frarewent on to win the 1991 World Press Photo Award, but whether or not this harrowing picture was an appropriate advertising image was widely debated. Some suggested it was more exploitative than supportive with AIDS activists saying that its use in advertising portrayed AIDS in a negative light, spreading fear rather than acceptance. The implied connection between the deaths of David Kirby and Jesus provoked outrage in many markets.

It is therefore very valid to ask if these latest Benetton Unhate ads represent the best on offer in press advertising, or are they just the most extraordinary and provocative campaign in market? If advertising success is measured by sales or by driving foot traffic to Benetton’s franchisees, this strategy and the previous campaigns have not worked.

There is no doubt that advertising remains a delicate blend of art and science. But I don’t agree that the industry is best served by rewarding the sensationalist approach of Benetton when it has lost all relevance to the brand. The Benetton campaign is art / social commentary, not advertising. The ad promises irreverence and a completely different perspective on the world today and all of it’s problems and prejudices that the stores, product and brand experience overall simply fail to deliver.

The judging at Cannes has come in for criticism on a few fronts. I would argue that it needs to return to the basics of effective advertising and the ability to sell a brand to its potential consumer in a relevant way, not just about notoriety, rule breaking or provocation. Great images that can change consumer opinion and sell the product at high return on investment should be recognised and rewarded.

Probably to “dry” for many, but this is actually how the industry survives. By sales.

As John Hegarty said at Cannes, advertising needs to stimulate and solicit the right response in the consumer along the lines of:

“Wow, I want to have a conversation with these people’, as opposed to ‘I’m doing my best to ignore them and they’re doing their best to trip me up in some way or another’. Isn’t that awful, we’re an industry that tries to trick people into watching what we do, why isn’t it inspiring, so people want to watch it.”

Benetton are trying to attract us by provocation rather than inspiration.

To some this might invite interest, particularly amongst social commentators and advertising aficionados, but I think that the shopping majority (and it is a mass market brand) will be confused by the aims of this campaign or potentially confronted by it, not inspired. Challenge and irreverence has a place in advertising, but it needs to be relevant and motivating to the brand.

Benetton Unhate is a great and provocative image, but arguably not a great ad.

John Hegarty Bursts the Cannes Bubble – “Make the bloody work better”

I’ve glanced at the commentary coming from Cannes annual advertising shindig. A lot of local Australian reports have bemoaned the fact that local agencies haven’t swept the board with awards. In fact Australian agencies such as Clemengers seem to have done quite well?

It was therefore interesting to see John Hegarty who is founder and worldwide creative director of BBH, returning to the basics and telling the industry to pull it’s creative socks up in his speech at Cannes as reported in AdNews.

The great thing about John and his leadership of BBH is that he doesn’t change. His principles and practical approach to advertising remain basically the same, they just evolve with experience. I am biased having worked there, but it made a lasting impression as John was one of the best marketeers I ever met, as well as having countless creative credentials.

Despite the chagrin of many in advertising who are scratching their heads as to why awards and recognition aren’t flowing their way, John puts it simply:

“Make the bloody work better. We must be the only industry in the world that actually thinks you can succeed when the work’s getting worse. We don’t talk about this enough.

“Obviously Cannes is about this, but what are we doing about it, how are we changing the way we’re working to create better work.”

I think that this is outstanding for the fact that it is true, the fact that BBH have been at the forefront of creativity and that John has the guts to throw off the Emperors new clothes and look at the industry with fresh eyes as a respected veteran of the business.

Not to say that there isn’t great work out there. There just isn’t enough of it. There seems to be a lot of “lazy” advertising, dictated by the need to get the campaign on-air on-time. I’ve seen creativity rushed and ruined as a result of a notional deadline to get it on-air.

John went on to say that advertising needs to stimulate and solicit the right response in the consumer along the lines of:

“Wow, I want to have a conversation with these people’, as opposed to ‘I’m doing my best to ignore them and they’re doing their best to trip me up in some way or another’. Isn’t that awful, we’re an industry that tries to trick people into watching what we do, why isn’t it inspiring, so people want to watch it.”

The discussion about the effectiveness of introspective “teaser” campaigns (Commbank, Blackberry etc) falls into this bracket of trying to “trick” and entice people into guessing the campaign. This assumes that consumers can actually be bothered?

Advertisers being big (in spend terms…) with teasers and tricks, but not necessarily clever in terms of creatively attracting consumers, are then bemused as to why effectiveness awards allude them and their CMO’s are replaced every 18 months?

Consumers don’t like to be deceived or have to guess who or what is behind a campaign, even if advertisers think that this brings engagement. It is more likely to bring annoyance and antipathy towards the campaign and brand. Consumers are wise to it and the novelty has worn off.

Advertising is a tool to drive awareness, engagement and sales and should be judged on these parameters. Advertisers are at risk of talking to themselves and then wondering why no one is listening?

The truth is that advertisers are not making ads that are truly relevant, interesting and motivating and that reach a mass market quickly and efficiently with the message.

As John says the ads aren’t good enough. Many advertisers are seduced into making advertising for social engagement on-line and PR notoriety first. Whilst this is important in contributing to a campaign idea, it can’t replace the effectiveness of producing strategically sound mass market creative to impact consumers and change opinions into new behaviour (i.e. buying stuff).

What was the last TV ad (TV still reaches the most households), that made you say “I really want that” or “they look like a great company I want to hear more from” or “wow, that changes my opinion!”

Hopefully hearing this from John will provoke the industry into some positive thought and action.

His book lays it out pretty clearly and is boiled down to the basics of the two most important points to remember if you’re a creative:

• The truth is the most powerful strategy

• The power of irreverence

The truth of product propositions seems to be getting lost in the “art” of advertising. The same rules still apply. Great products and services with genuine unique selling points (product truths), creatively delivered to attract the attention of consumers – this is what still works and sells.

When it comes to handling a situation or tackling an idea, John couldn’t stress more the importance of these two aspects of truth and irreverence in his book. Ask yourself, what is it exactly you’re trying to do? You should always challenge the accepted norm. Of course, he highlighted the fact that when it comes to clients, you can’t always break prejudice, it’s all about how you make the limits they give you distinctive. A nice challenge to the traditional brief.

He follows up with the first of many interesting anecdotes, featuring one of the most influential creative minds in advertising, Bill Bernbach. After the Second World War, Germany’s economy was kaput and they were in desperate need of a boost. One of the key elements they had to offer was their cars and they needed to sell them badly. They decided to approach an American named Bill Bernbach to try to generate sales for the Volkwagen Beetle. Now here was a car which was completely unappealing and actually not all that good, but Bernbach saw an opportunity in advertising a key feature about it. It was small. In this world of everything getting bigger, and bigger meaning better, Bernbach identified that the beetle went against the grain, and instead of trying to hide from supposed disadvantage, he turned the spotlight onto it and came up with the now famous line: “Think small”…and as they say the rest is history.

I hope that John and his blunt appraisal drives clients and creatives to make history and produce the campaigns that the industry can be proud of and that the consumers deserve.