Posts Tagged ‘Authentic’

How to create a brand identity…

March 18, 2014

Funny thing about this ad is that it wasn’t made by Tesla. You should read the story here, but basically it was a bunch of college grads looking to break into advertising. They spend a grand total of $1500.

What I love about this ad, is that it totally gets the emotion right. It tells a story of wonder, of excitement, of innocence. There are a lot of reasons to buy a Tesla, but basically, they’re saying you buy it because its just plain cool. (Not because you want to be cool, but because its coolness excites you.) They tell you that in a story, no, that’s not right, they don’t tell you, they show it.

What’s more, I think they capture the truth about what makes Tesla cool. I’ve reviewed a bunch of ads recently that tell great brand stories, but when the company is revealed, it feels like a let down because what they’re saying doesn’t match the identity that brand holds in my mind. Maybe because these guys are outsider or beginners (there’s a whole zen concept of beginner’s mind) or really smart and talented or just really in tune with Tesla (probably some combination of all those things), they seem to hit the nail on the head.

I love the moment with the dad where he dons the cardboard helmet. This spot is what it means to be on-emotion & on-message.

They could have chosen to sell a product, all electric, zero to sixty, cutting edge, blah, blah, blah, instead they created a brand identity. That’s a much harder lift, but it works here because its authentic to the product, and these days, that might be more important than creativity. 

Sometimes we confuse the jelly with the donut.

September 4, 2013

I like this spot so much better when we’re hearing from the candidate…

It’s like passion, energy, connections, then Blah (message), Blah (poll issues), Blah (on the nose), energy again.

When it comes to emotion v. message which one will you remember from this spot?

Real is the new Real

May 14, 2013

Real emotions win. People can tell the difference between real and fake. That’s why actors get paid so much becayuse the best of them can convince us what they’re feeling is real.

This Target spot is interesting, highlighting Target’s investment in education in a very raw real way. They could have told you how much money they invest (in fact they do, though I can’t the life of me remember that number, can you), they could have told you how many students they help or why a college education is so important. In other words they could have stuck to the facts. Instead they focused on the emotion.

I’ve been re-reading the classic “Made to Stick,” there’s a point they make in the book: “Statisitcs are rarely meaningful in and of themselves. Statistics will, and should almost always be used to illustrate a relationship. It’s more important for people to remember the relationship than the number.”

What are you going to remember from this commercial?

Real honest to goodness authenticity (and we really mean it)

May 6, 2013

I talk a lot about authenticity here. That’s because the best stories, the most compelling storytelling has truth and authenticity at its’ core. It’s not always enough for something to be true, it also has to ring true. That’s a hard lesson to live by.. . I remember many years ago working on an ad, we put a number in there for some fact or another, the number was 100% abosultely true, but it was so large, it just felt… unbelievable. We ended up taking it out because it required too much of the viewer.

I’m all for pushing viewers, not catering to the lowest common denominator as so many ads (political and otherwise) do these days, but you also have to know your audience, and understand their mindset. Like I’ve said before, it’s a fine line between stupid and clever. 

(The Walmart video has several videos all about the same in message and emotion.)

Walmart and JC Penny, both trying to convey a mea culpa of sorts. Walmart of course trying to make themselves something other than the huge behemoth crushing local business and wages, a comapny that treats it’s employees as cheaply as its products. JC Penny fresh off trying to transform itself with Ron Johnson, who ran the Apple stores for so many years, facing falling stock prices and sales.

Both comapnies deserve credit for confronting the elephant in the room, and realizing that they have issues, that shouldn’t be ignored. The question about both of these ads are they authentic in any way?

Is JC Penny really sorry? Are they sorry for not listening or because their changes failed to draw more customers?

Is Walmart really the great place to work and shop they say it is? Just because they say it with happy music and happy customers (and employees) does that make it true?

There’s a story my mom tells… One day the phone rang, my dad answered. “Mr Strasberg,” the voice on the other line asked,”We’re calling for President Nixon….”

“Yes,” my dad answered unphased.

“Yes, we were hoping you could help us with a problem… We’d like you to help us make the President look truthful.”

“I see,” said my dad, “Well, that’s easy, if you want to make the President truthful, then have him tell the truth.”

This is the essential problem with both these ads, and all ads like these ones. The truth speaks for itself. Trust is earned, truth can’t just be created it has to be bought, not with money or air time, but with hard authentic work. There’s no short cut to truth except truth itself. I think both JC Penny and Walmart are going to find this lesson out the hard way.

 

 

The story matters

May 3, 2013

Sometimes you luck into a the story. Think Subway and Jared.

I’ve seen some articles of late saying union membership is down, and unions are talking to their own members not to the public.

Then I watch a video like this one from MLB and Bryce Harper, and I think why aren’t they telling this story, not this exact story, but stories like this. If unions have any symbolic power, its this story of the regular hard working man (or woman) trying to make a better life for his family. It’s a story as old as America, why aren’t unions tapping these stories at a time they need them the most?

More railing against talking points

April 18, 2013

What sells a product? Is it how well it works? Or how well you think it works? Is it what it says about itself or what it stands for?

Much like the Ebay motorcycle ad, this ad isn’t filled with talking points. It’s not making any claims about its product, its just a brand saying this is what our values are, this is what we stand for, this is what we are about. To the extent that story is authentic and resonates to how the audience sees the product, it is effective.

This video from Dove is absolutely on-emotion and because of that it’s on message for the brand. It’s easy to be on-message, much harder to be on-emotion, but ultiamtely more important.

Form follows Emotion

January 10, 2012

I’m reading the Steve Jobs biography, and I came across this quote from his first designer, Hartmut Esslinger:

“Form follows emotion.”

The statement resonates with me particularly because I’m such a fan of form integrating with function, but of course in advertising function basically boils down to emotion.  The form should be connected intimately to the emotional frequency of the brand and message you’re trying to drive.

That leads me to a discussion of this ad:

This ad is surprisingly simple in form, but that simplicity is a strength in this case adding a verisimilitude to Huntsman.Using the debate clips without commentary is powerful, even the cutaways to Perry and Mitt looking flummoxed works and adds to the sense of reality.

Huntsman comes off as tough, honest, and eloquent. Talking about his kids in the navy serving a Democratic president is a nice touch.

While patriotism is a good quality in an of itself, it also serves as a macguffin — what Huntsman is really saying is he’s the principled one in the race. The contrast is obviously with Mitt, where Mitt is calculating and rising money, Huntsman is principled and committed to his values, even serving for a Democratic president because it was his duty. He’s not playing politics he’s serving his country, what more could you want in a President?

I think this is a very good ad for Huntsman, contrasting his strengths against his opponent’s weaknesses. It’s presents his best on-emotion argument for voting for him, in an authentic execution, the real question for him is this enough to propel his campaign forward? And, do Republicans care?

And the Nominee is…

December 5, 2011

I was planning to just look at Rick Perry’s new ad today, but then Newt went ahead and released his first spot of the primary season, so it’s a twofer Monday here at Ad Nauseum.

I really liked this ad from Perry which basically takes ownership of his much discussed brain fart. It felt pretty authentic, and I think Perry does a good job delivering the lines. There’s not much else to the ad, the issue and positioning stuff is really just filler. I frankly can’t remember any of it —  I’ll always remember this as Perry’s apology ad, even though that’s only about half the ad. There’s a point to be made here: That you can’t cram too much into an ad, basically in :30 people will remember one or two elements. If you want them to remember more, then you can have one overarching theme, and the other elements need to connect to them, but even then, it’s the overarching theme that resonates with an audience.

The delivery is smooth, and not too forced, though I wouldn’t go so far to say natural. Still, I think Perry comes off as likable, and this ad could only help remind folks why they were so excited about Perry to begin with. My biggest question about the ad is the timing. I think this ad comes too late to really stem the damage from the debate. An ad like this a couple days after the debate mistake or possibly a week afterwards might have muted the criticism, and showed Perry as a likable guy who could good naturally admit mistakes.  Coming almost three weeks after the gaffe, I really wonder if audiences have moved on.

In the first 10-15 seconds of Newt’s first ad, I thought I was really going to like it. It’s exactly the kind of message I think a Republican should be using (talking about American exceptionalism in nostalgic and reverential tones). But after those first 15 seconds, the spot doesn’t really go anywhere except to Newt.

I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s so flat. I really like the images (the Marines marching, the hand on the amber waves of grain, the flags), so I don’t think it’s the visuals (except the weird cross fade from the Statue of Liberty).  I wonder if it’s the music which starts as emotional, but never builds or goes anywhere. Much like the spot, the music seems to meander, once it’s made it’s central point. The spot seems almost tamped down. I wonder if that was a deliberate choice?

Maybe they’re trying to play Newt against type, he’s known as being fiery, so we’ll play him calm and mellow. I’m not sure that really works here, even though I think the message is appealing to voters.

At the end of the day, I think voters will respond to this ad, it’s compelling enough, but just so.

 


%d bloggers like this: