Baby, baby, baby

The advertising world has a history of using as a narrative device characters that cannot speak and are forced to talk like normal/adult humans.

For instance, animals are given the power to communicate with humans in their own language (with subtitles in English, of course, intended as animal-speak translated in human language).

I had shared one such video a couple of weeks ago where a dog speaks in bow-bows, with english subtitles helpfully translating the bows to English… since it is obviously intended for us.

Besides animals, another favorite in advertising is babies.

E-trade, the online trading platform, was an early user of baby-talk in ad. But they did not let the baby talk in gibberish/babble – they made the baby talk adult language. That’s what made them a great watch.

Here’s an entire playlist!

Created by Grey New York in 2008, for the Super Bowl that year, the campaign was a massive success, both in terms of popularity and in terms of efficacy.

Why did E-trade make the babies speak adult language? Because research told them that people perceive online trading as a complex, risky thing to do, back in 2008. So the brand wanted to convey a simple USP about their product – that online trading was so easy that even a baby could do it!

Does it remind you of something? Oh yes, Flipkart’s kids-as-adults series is almost an extension of E-trade’s campaign where the babies grew into children and continued to talk adult language. The objective was the same – buying on Flipkart was as like child’s play.

E-trade retired the baby in 2014.

In 2016, Ogilvy India used baby talk (gibbersh/blabber) as is in their advertising for Blue Star water purifiers.

Like the use of animal-talk I mentioned earlier, this too had ‘translated’ communication meant for adults to decipher baby babble. As expected, it was incredibly cute.

In 2020, FCB Inferno made baby gibberish advertising material again, for their client Pura Wipes.

The difference here is that Pura is a product meant for babies and it makes sense for them to vouch for a product good for them (and the Earth), unlike water purifiers or online trading that have nothing to do (specifically) with babies.

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