Channel 4 Paralympics ad – Meet the Superhumans

Channel 4 promo

There is some great outdoor advertising in the UK from Channel 4 that features the line “thanks for the warm-up” in reference to their broadcast of the paralympic games in London.

Australia’s satirical show on all things advertising The Gruen Sweat featured this promo (not ad., but in-house produced promo).

This is one of the best examples of selling a product and subject that isn’t instantly in demand from the general public. As well as agency quality production, the genius is in the creative idea that includes the depiction of accidents that led to injury and disability.

The message is that this could be you.

It is a powerfully produced piece of work and a good effort to get our attention and awareness of Channel 4’s broadcast, whether it will drive actual viewership is another question, but given the momentum of the Olympics this is giving the games the best chance of some serious viewing.

This also proves a point I have long believed in. In-house production teams, who know their brand and content, can do a great job to sell it to their viewers at a fraction of the cost of agencies.

A nice taster here:

Channel 4 says the campaign is the biggest it has run since the station launched in 1982.

The advert was directed by Tom Tagholm for Channel 4’s in-house agency 4Creative. Tagholm said:

“We knew we had to make some noise. We knew we had to add some edge and grit and attitude.

“We narrowed it down to four or five concepts but then someone came up with this line: ‘Meet The Superhumans’. We loved the scale and the confidence of it. So we built up from there to create the strongest, most impactful concept we could get.”

The Channel 4 blog puts it like this:

“As for the scenes in the middle with the explosion and car crash and the mother in the hospital – we thought long and hard about how to include them because one thing that we weren’t interested at all in doing was an advert which said ‘Isn’t it great that these guys have made it to the start line?’ That just didn’t interest me and I don’t think it interested the channel.

“What I wanted to do though was just get a flashback moment – to show that it’s a part of what they are now and a part of their physicality. I didn’t want to dwell on it, just to give a hint, a moment of just how tough these characters have had to be. I could have put those scenes at the beginning or the end of the trailer but I think it’d have been weirdly less impactful that way – having them where they are stops you right in your tracks and hits you in the face.”

And the Public Image soundtrack nails it.

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ABC Breakfast News Lego Sally Pearson Olympics win

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LEGO logo

We all know about the restrictions over the use of Olympics footage by broadcasters who don’t have rights.

The still images of Olympic glory just don’t do it by the second Olympic week and therefore a few media outlests including ABC News, The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian have turned to Lego.

I’m a Billund Brick fan since the age of 4. Few brands stick with you for this long and can re-invent themselves and remain relevant and truly interesting to the older and newer generations. A Lego VW Combi van did it for me, not to mention the promise of a Lego action movie no less.

You’ve got to love the fact that the professionals turn to the humble brick with some amateur athletic endeavors when all else fails.

Here are some of the best bits of brick from Legos 80th Anniversary year:

Lego Story Animation 

Lego Outback Forest

Lego Australian 50th Anniversary

 

I come from a Land Down Under – Telstra TV ad

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The ad, created by DDB Sydney, features Men At Work’s Colin Hay and a cast of Ozzies in London. An unbranded version of the ad was played to the whole Olympic team just after Australia’s flag bearer was announced. This immediately shows that it is hitting the right note with real people.

I like it for its honest simplicity and emotional effectiveness, versus other efforts to convince us of Ozzie roots / provenance or general “Ozzieness”. This spot seems to strike the right “C’mon Ozzie” chord with the locals versus metaphorical skyward gazing from Qantas or too much deep and meaningful from CommBank with Toni Collette.

A few people have referenced this ad in preference to the Qantas effort and I can understand why. Both use music to bring you the brand, but Telstra hit a better note with the locals.

And we might even assume that it is relevant as these Ozzies will all be phoning home!?

A good tune with the right emotional pull can make even a modest ad, with few rational reasons to believe, a memorable and magical effort. At the end of the day and as Hegarty once said:

“If you can’t say it, sing it…”

P&G “Mom” Olympics TV ad

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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.

Argentina Falklands Olympic ad

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As many people have already seen this, here is an ITN news report showing the ad and discussing the reaction. The controversy continues to build.

The campaign is titled: ‘Olympic Games 2012: Homage to the Fallen and the Veterans of the Malvinas.’

The spot ends with the words: “To compete on English soil, we train on Argentine soil. In homage to the fallen soldiers and war veterans.”

It shows Argentina hockey captain Fernando Zylberberg running in the Falklands capital, Port Stanley, and exercising on the island’s Great War Memorial, which honours British sailors who died in the First World War.

Despite requests from WPP, the Government of Argentina has refused to bring the ad down. It has been reported Argentina’s foreign secretary Hector Timerman said: “”Britain’s defence minister [Phillip Hammond] demands, like a mighty knight, that Argentina expresses its regret for the creativity of an advert which sums up what we feel.

“He has still not explained what punishment he will select if we refuse to obey his demands. He ought to know the world is a safer place when you use creativity instead of bombing civilian populations in independent countries.”

The International Olympics Committee has denounced the ad, saying the Olympics should not be a fourm to raise political issues.

Far from political action, a number of “British response” ads are already posted on-line provoking some strong reactions on both sides.

The latest is that WPP’s Y&R network will make a contribution to war veterans’ charities in an attempt to compensate for the controversial spot created by its Buenos Aires office.

A different take on the power of advertising.