In the tradition of the popular Thinkbox series of shorts that explore some of the greatest TV advertisements in the company of leading Creatives ‘who know a thing or two about making them’, I’ve decided to put forward my own three choices of great advertisements that I had nothing to do with. Now, I’m no Chief Creative Officer of a huge agency, but I feel like I still know a good ad from a bad one. So here goes.
In the age of digital television recorders, advertisement skipping, product placement, overlay ads, Google and pretty much the internet in general, making a TVC stand out above the rest has become tough. Attention spans have shortened, and the point now is to make a TVC that instantly grabs attention and is genuinely engaging. I’ve selected three TVCs that have recently inspired me in my journey through studying advertising; brilliant commercials, old and new, that I admire. (Oh and by the way, if you’ve never heard of it, check out advert.ge on Facebook – absolutely brilliant page constantly posting great TVC’s from around the globe.)
Ad #1: It’s now or never.
As the rest of the world runs for their lives and civilization crumbles around them, the bar-goers enjoy their last moments together and make the most of theirs. The bartender pours shots of Cuervo, a man plays Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now or Never” on the jukebox and couples tango while destruction around them ensues, because as for these brave souls; ‘tomorrow is overrated’.
The coolness factor is stratospheric here. CP+B’s campaign, directed by Ringan Ledwidge, features stunning visuals and uses an end-of-days scenario in charming fashion as a metaphor for living in the moment. The Elvis ballad, which was the second best-selling single of his career, is conceptually perfect and cuts right through the mayhem. The end tagline, “Tomorrow Is Overrated,” is a fun way to highlight tequila’s reputation as a liquor that can lead to unparalleled nights of abandon – and a way to emphasize the primacy of now in times of uncertainty.
Ad #2: Only time.
Who would have thought that more than 85 million people would watch the Muscles from Brussels doing his signature split with two Volvo trucks moving in reverse on a highway, backed by Enya’s “Only Time”? Volvo knew.
Directed by Andreas Nilsson, Volvo filmed the short on a runway in Spain in one take after three days of rehearsals. The short was, at the time, the latest in a series of videos Volvo used to promote how easy it was, and is, to steer its new high-tech big rigs – others have featured a woman walking a tightrope between to moving trucks heading toward a tunnel and a hamster steering one up the edge of a cliff.
The series, and the Jean-Claude Van Damme video in particular, are an insanely clever way to get attention to a type of vehicle most consumers usually don’t care or even think about while proving to other brands that they can use short clips to generate a Super Bowl-sized audience for little money when upping the creativity level of their campaigns.
Ad #3: Satisfaction.
While they sleep, a man’s tongue crawls completely out of his mouth and embarks on a journey to a house party down the road, bringing back home a cold Tooheys Extra Dry.
Yes, another alcohol ad. But prove to me that this isn’t one of the greatest Australian ads ever. I distinctively remember always rushing to the TV whenever I could hear Benny Benassi’s “Satisfaction” playing. “The tongue beer ad is on!”, I would say. I was 12.
This Tooheys TVC, created by BMF in Sydney, drew dozens of complaints but ranks as one of the best television commercials in the world. The Advertising Standards Board rejected a deluge of complaints about the ad, while Tooheys claims it reinvigorated Australian beer advertising. The advertisement is deliberately distinctive to reflect the diverse and growing consumer appetite for the brand, with a particular focus on younger consumers. At the core of the ad, the tongue is a simple yet strategic device to highlight the importance of taste.
The overall theme of my three advertisements, it seems, is that they all effectively make use of one huge feature amongst the impact of the visuals; that of music. Each advertisement conveys a strong message, but through the added characteristic of music, and specifically popularised music, the ad becomes something else. It becomes engaging.
Rowan James Slade