Can ads be thoroughly watchable and yet have terribly poor brand connect? Of course, they can. But why would someone make ads like that is a very different topic.
Here are 2 recent ads that had me completely engaged and when they ended, and I realized the brand behind them, left me completely baffled by the sheer stretch the brands had extended themselves to tell these fantastic stories.
The first one is for a French online gambling site that offers poker and sports betting, called Winamax. The agency is TBWA/Paris.
The basic premise is interesting: instead of focusing on what a winner of the money (from poker, online betting etc.) would do for him/herself, the story imagines what they would do with the money for someone they love. So, the crux is about how a winner wants to treat his mother to a vacation with the money he wins.
So far, so good.
The ad is a wild ride, literally! You have to watch it to believe it – it’s good fun!
Of the 120 seconds duration, nearly 90 seconds are dedicated to the engaging gimmick of the elevator blasting up! When the lady’s journey finally ends in an interesting manner, you realize what is going on (with some difficulty), but the overall reaction remains a “What?!”.
The second one is for the Nordic brand of ice lollies called Sun Lolly. This is by the Danish agency Twenty.
Unlike Winamax’s wild ride, this one uses a hugely sentimental premise of the evolving relationship between a father and his daughter. The arc covers a whole lifetime, literally… and moves ahead with the daughter’s child. The song playing in the background is an original track composed for the ad, called ‘Fool for you’ by Anna Olivia.
There is no shot of the ice lolly anywhere!
The premise is explained more directly in the print ads, with the line, “Don’t be perfect. Be present”, even as the TVC ends with “Here’s to the parents who focus on impressing those who really matter”. Both the lines are perfect, but connect with a brand of ice lolly seems completely outside the purview of the hugely emotional story.
In both ads, even as they made for entertaining/emotionally appealing watch, there is no pay-off that could connect that watching experience to the brand’s promise. Even if the brands and agencies thought that they had, it feels like a massive stretch.
Having written about 2 watchable ads with poor brand-related pay-offs, it’s only fair that I add an example of a wonderfully watchable ad with a fantastic brand-related pay-off.
This is a 2008 ad film by Dentsu, Japan. For a client called ‘Morinaga and Co’. That must be the only thing you should know before watching it.
It’s a thoroughly entertaining story and would have you wonder what the product being advertised is. Most people may guess that it has something to do with eyes – contact lens, lens solution etc.
But watch the ending to see how wonderfully they connect it to the brand’s promise. The ad has a perfect pay-off, both in terms of the bizarre story they set out to tell us, and in terms of how it connects to the brand.
Only when you complete watching it, you realize that the agency misdirected you to think that it was about eyes. It wasn’t and it was about a completely different sensory organ – the tongue! And then the possibilities unfold – you could use the same story to any food item that we thoroughly relish!