Posts Tagged ‘execution’

It’s good to be the king…

June 12, 2013

When you’re the king, you don’t have to worry about the competition and go negative.

When you’re the king, you can talk about experience not features.

When you’re the king, you can make ads like this one from Apple:

I find the ad a little too on the nose for me (it’s giving me  a little too much 4 instead of 2+2, especially in the open). This is one of those odd ads that’s both on-message and on-emotion, but still somehow misses the mark for me. I love that they don’t talk about features or innovations, I love that they don’t throw a bunch of numbers, I love the scene with the couple on the bridge laughing and taking a picture. A good brand is about the experience of the person using it, all those other things either add to the experience or don’t, Apple totally gets that.

So why don’t I particularly like this ad or rather, why do I think this ad isn’t working as well as the sum of its parts?

Back to my first point they’re giving us 4, when they should be giving us 2+2. as my friend said, the ad is trying a little too hard. I love the concept and feel of the ad, but I think the copy isn’t as good as they think it is. Because the copy is framing all those other elements, the ad can’t quite rise above it. I find the ad interesting, but not sure it’s good, somehow it doesn’t add up to the sum of it’s parts.

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What’s the point?

May 2, 2013

I’ve seen this Kevin Durant ad about 20 times in the last month. I think it’s really clever, it’s well acted (I love the mom’s response as she tugs at her wedding ring), it’s unexpected. I’ve watched it 20 times, but last night was the first night I realized it was for Spring PCS. Huh.

I talk about gimmicks a lot here. Here is a great example of when gimmicks fail.This is a well execucted ad and its a failure.

If the gimmick isn’t central to the product (whether its cell service or a candidate), then the gimmick gets remembered but the message gets lost.

 

Never let ’em off the hook

April 30, 2013

Not sure why I wanted to show it, but my sone just did a report for school on change agents, and he got Jackie Robinson.

You know I wanted to like this ad a lot more than I did. I love the opening line, “Here’s to first…,” and I also love the New Era (they sell hats you know) tag, “Fly your own flag.”

I wanted to like this ad, in many ways it reminded of this Apple ad:

But where the Apple ad moved and inspired me, the New Era ad despite being well shot left me flat. Maybe it’s because it’s seems to be trying too hard, it had me on the hook at the beginning but then it loses. Somehow it feels like New Era doesn’t really have a point to make, the ad’s not really about being first nor about Flying your own flag. Where the Apple ad is dedicated to the “Think Different” proposition. What’s my walk away from the New Era ad? What am I supposed to feel? The ad doesn’t sufficiently guide me there and seeing the sign of Jackie Robinson park at the end feels less like a payoff and more like a cheat.

It’s a fine line between stupid and clever

April 22, 2013

Pretty funny ad from Kmart.

The ad is of course provacative, and at it’s core basically a gimmick. I laughed at the execution, and I think it will be successful to the extent that Kmart’s message is tied into the gimmick. Essentially could the ad be from another retailer in the same market space, let’s say Target or JC Penny?

At the end of the day how much do people connect the “ship my pants” ad to Kmart or do they jsut remember some department store had the “ship my pants” ad? In other words does it succeed in pushing the message or does it simple amuse?

2+2=3?

April 16, 2013

Let’s take a trip to LA, where they’re having a big Mayor’s race.

This ad is really pretty, well executed ad, but it leaves me feeling flat. Maybe’s it’s Wendy Gruel’s delivery, maybe it’s just that it feels like it’s trying too hard, but in any case it doesn’t grab me they it should given the elements. Like somehow the ad doesn’t add up to the sum of its parts.

Do Production values matter?

April 27, 2012

Interesting ad from John Tester. It’s a total gimmick ad, but I like the concept. I think the gimmick works here because it’s on message and on emotion, the key elements for any ad, but specifically an ad that revolves around a gimmick. Tester has never seemed Washington, so telling people he packs his Montana steaks, the nice touch with the boots (and the shot of the TSA agent looking at the x-ray of the steaks) works here because it matches what we think of him already.

What I don’t like about this ad is the execution. The shots are a little sloppy, the lighting is really flat (especially at the end of the ad), even the audio sounds a little crunchy. Frankly the ad feels cheap, more like a low budget commercial, then a commercial for a US Senator. Maybe that’s a stylistic choice, but I think you can be homey without looking cheap.

A good story with poor production values still works, and I think this ad mostly works. The sloppy and cheap execution do hold it back though, it feels less real, more staged, less believable somehow. Compare this ad with the gimmick ads from Hickenlooper, those were highly produced and yet still felt intimate and personal.

So a good concept taken down by poor execution. At least they’re trying to be different.

What more do you want?

March 1, 2012

If you follow my twitter feed, I mentioned how much I loved this ad. I was going to leave it at that, but a friend of mine has been encouraging me to blog more (guess they don’t follow Twitter), so here goes:

I loved this ad.  First of all it’s a great execution of a good concept. The production values are top notch, but more than that, they really trust the concept, going all the way, and allowing the concept to speak for the brand.  They show the values of the Guardian rather than have a narrator who tells you, “The Guardian, the whole picture — our voice and yours…” or some other bullet point.

The details are nicely done as well from the copy (the police raid yelling “little pig, little pig let us in”) to the way they inter-weave the story between web, headlines, user commentary, to the graphics — seriously this is top notch stuff.

Also, its both telling a compelling story, but maybe more importantly a familiar story with a twist. Using the three little pigs is a clever way to spiral out a story we’ve all seen before — the crime, the commentary, the reaction and counter-reaction, the eventual fallout to larger issues.

Storytelling.

Show don’t tell.

Great execution.

What more do you want from an ad?

Best of the Night

February 6, 2012

I’ve been writing this post in my head since last night, but I’m still not sure I got it, but sometimes it’s more important to dive in than to dither in your thoughts. I started with the positive, here’s what I liked last night:

OVERALL

Dot.coms are dead, long live the car ads. Car companies dominated the buys last night.

I thought the ads were pretty “eh”, there were some good ones, but nothing that stood head and shoulders above the rest.

Consumer brands not afraid to go negative… Chevy, Samsung, Pepsi all had negative ads up.

THE BEST 

Probably the ad that people either loved or hated was “Halftime in America,” the Chrysler ad narrated by Clint Eastwood. I loved it. Yes, it was derivative of last year’s ad with Eminen. Yes, it was too long and sometimes too overwrought.  Of all the ads tonight, this was the one that I had a visceral reaction to.  I watched the game with my wife (who is a blast to watch football with, each play elicited a shriek or gasp of concern), despite backtracking this morning, immediately after the ad she turned to me and said, “That makes me want to buy an American car” — isn’t that the point?

Look, you can break this ad down in a lot of ways, but at the end of the day, I loved it because it was on-emotion and it connected with me at that level — and hell, I’m probably not even the target audience. Some called it the best political ad of 2012, as it harkens back to “Morning in America,” it acknowledges the best in us and speaks to American pride and spirit.  Chrysler = Detroit = America. And really is there any voice more soulful than Clint Eastwood.

An interesting entry from Hyundai. I really liked this ad as well (this was my wife’s favorite). Not as great as the Chrysler ad, but I thought it was an interesting framing for a company that people don’t really have a story for. I’ve never thought much about Hyundai as car company, but the idea that “they try harder,” that they’re in it together, that they keep working through problems is a great identity for any company.

My problem with an ad like this is, will people accept it? I have no reason not to accept it, but just because they say it doesn’t make it true. What’s the proof? I wish Hyundai would follow up with more ads along these lines, show me ways that the company has overcome problems, instead they followed up with this ad:

Funny and clever yes. On message and on-emotion…, not so much. How does this ad fit in with Hyundai’s message in the Rocky ad? It doesn’t seem to. Maybe it works as a way to get people to remember to Hyundai, but I didn’t even remember who this ad was for until I went back and looked.  I laughed at this ad, it was good entertainment, but not a great ad. In a way, this ad is a good representation of the ads last night, some nice entertainment, but nothing that was a great ad.

The Best ad that didn’t run in the US

I already talked about this ad. But thinking more about it, it reminded me of the old Bud slogan, “This Bud’s for you.” Bud was the drink for the everyman, for the unrecognized heroes out there, who do their jobs in quiet dignity. This ad harkens back to that tradition, and I think it would translate to America, it’s a shame Bud wasted their time with ads about Prohibition and partying through the ads, rather than this ad which is far more effective.

Ads my Kids like

Asher really liked this Coke ad.

It was funny, the polar bears are iconic coke messengers, but like a lot of ads tonight I think the humor gets in the way of emotion.  It’s funny, but not sure it’s really about Coke.

Owen’s favorite ad was the much anticipated Volkswagen “Dog” ad:

It was a funny ad, and while the epilogue was random, it made for a nice connection with last year’s ad.  I liked the genre busting that I saw in car ads last night, this ad led the way putting a story of desire for the car ahead of the attributes of the car.  It was funny and clever, but at the end of the day, it didn’t make me like volkswagen any more than I had before watching the ad.  I guess I agree with the guy in the bar, I liked the authenticity of the Vadar kid better.

Ads that people I respect liked

Really it was just this ad from Fiat. A couple of people who I really respect told me this was the best ad of the night, while I respect them…, they’re wrong…

I think this is a good ad — provocative and interesting. It tells a little story and is surprising, all good things. But I feel like the scope of the ad, the emotion it’s trying connect with (desire) is just not that big, it’s low hanging fruit. Compare the emotion of the Chrysler ad to this one, and this one feels small in comparison. Still it’s well executed and crisp, and does a great job of being on-emotion.

Is it what you say or how you say it?

November 15, 2011

I watched this ad yesterday, the latest salvo in the Massachusetts senate race, and I knew I wanted to comment about it.  Watching it again today, it’s amazing how much I forgot about it, ok I’ll get to that later.

What I responded to in this ad was the message, Warren is unapologetically saying she’s a crusader against Wall Street, and she’s going to fight for the 99%.  What’s interesting is that she does it (unlike me) deliberately without invoking the language of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Of course, you all remember Crossroads GPS just attacked her for her liberal extremism as the intellectual underpinnings of that protest movement.

What I think Warren does successfully here is embrace the message without embracing the messenger.  She doesn’t run from who she is or her record, she doesn’t defend herself “before you hear a bunch of ridiculous attack ads” (which of course have already started), but rather issues a forceful statement of principles and values.

Alright, that’s 130 or so words in praise of this ad. When I first started this blog, I broke my reviews up into a form grade and a function grade, while I found that format too constraining and not ultimately helpful, I think it’s instructive here.  The function of this ad would be an A-, the form, on the other hand, being generous would be a C.

What I remember from the ad was the message: Warren fights Wall Street, which is a pretty good summation, but loses all of the detail and texture of the message. I loved the archival pictures, so vivid, but the text is kind of flat and at times falls into political cliche. The taking on the powerful interests message was lost on me until I re-watched the ad, her story had drifted away.

For a candidate who has capture so much support and excitement of voters, her delivery is alright, but not especially compelling. Was a scripted ad read off a teleprompter the best way to go here? I’ve never heard her speak, but I can’t help but think an interview ad going over the same message points, but spoken spontaneously would capture more of the real Warren. Here, I feel like I’m watching a candidate speak, the ad is well executed for what it is, but it’s not compelling in the least.

Warren wants to tell us who she is, but I feel watching this ad that she’s hiding behind a teleprompter and words written by a political consultant. I want more from her than this ad gives.

Again, maybe that’s not fair, maybe she stinks in an interview, but what the ad gives in message is lost in authenticity. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t believe Warren, I just don’t connect to her.)

If you averaged my earlier form grade C with the function grade A-, you end up about a B, and that’s where I’d put the ad, B/B-. It’s not a bad opening ad, certainly serviceable, but this blog isn’t about serviceable ads.  I’ve only really read about Warren in the book “Confidence Men,” by Ron Suskind, but she comes off as a compelling and intriguing figure there.  I can understand the excitement about her campaign, because I felt it too just from the little she’s in the book, she seemed genuine and passionate.

I don’t get that feeling here, or maybe I do, but it’s diluted.  Am I less excited about Warren now, no, but I’m a believer after all, am I more excited, not really. At the end of the day, this isn’t a bad ad, it’s right where it needs to be message wise, but I just felt the pieces were there for a great ad.

Trusting your concept

July 16, 2010

So I never talked about the demon sheep video that made waves at the begining of the year (though if I had, I would have talked about gimmicks and the need to be authentic).  This commercial is by the mastermind of Demon Sheep, Fred Davis.  It’s an attack on Senator Patty Murray, who in 1992 ran as a mom in tennis shoes.

I showed this ad to a couple of folks, and they thought it was awesome.  Funny thing was, I thought it was less than awesome, and the why goes back to the title of this post. I think this is an awesome concept and a great attack.  It turns Murray’s image around in an interesting way.

So what’s the problem? I think the execution is less interesting and effective than the concept.

This isn’t a concept problem, but a script problem.  The script is heavy handed, it sort of takes the wind out from the visuals. I think this ad would be more effective with a short script that packed more punch.  Imagine the same visuals, you see the white sneaks, then they’re stepping on the backs of the people.  All this time there’s no voice over.  I think that’s interesting and it gets you curious.  After 10 or 15 seconds hit your talking points, “Patty Murray told us she was different, but she did X, Y, Z, tell Patty to get off our backs…”  Less details, sure, less message, maybe, more effective without a doubt.

This is a good concept, but I wish it had a good script to drive the point home, as it is, I think it misses the mark.


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