Posts Tagged ‘on-emotion’

When Punchlines fall short

May 8, 2014

I found this video interesting but ultimately unsuccessful. Watching the girl go through her life was heartbreaking, made more so, by her narration. The repetition of the line “I didn’t cry” is really effective at punctuating her pain but also reminding us of her pride and resilience in the face of the horrors she faces.  I felt the punchline which is really the call to action just falls flat. After all she’s gone through, is her biggest problem really she doesn’t have water? I guess maybe…, I don’t know, but it moves the video from an emotional appeal to a rational one, suddenly I’m thrust into the position of having to judge whether water is at the level of child marriage or your mother is a prostitute, that’s not really the level Water is Life wants to be operating.

Frankly I’m not sure if this ad is motivating at all. There’s so much wrong with the poor girl’s life, how is fixing one thing going to make it right, it feels so daunting, that you just want to give up.

This video from Save the Children takes another tact. It tried to use humor and surprise to get your attention (as opposed to Water is Life which just uses shock value).  The punchline here is more effective, but I found myself distracted because I was feeling sorry for the models. It felt like they were being punked, and I shared their discomfort rather than engaging with their message.  That’s where this video falls short, I can’t transfer my discomfort with the execution to being upset about the facts they’re presenting. The message is clear, but the emotions are muddied.

I think something both these videos show is the importance of the punchline. Both these videos depend on their punchline to deliver their message and their emotion, but they both fall short because the punchline doesn’t connect with what came before either emotionally or in terms of message.

 

 

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The road less travelled…

February 26, 2014

Big disclaimer… this ad has some disturbing images.

I really don’t like this ad from Save the Children UK.

I don’t like shock value, and I think this ad depends on the easier to access shock value rather than the harder to achieve hope. Its shocking because they think that will get attention, and they’re right, it will get attention. But when they have my attention where do they take me? Can they get me to connect to the message and give me money to their cause, which the ultimate goal of this ad.

I think they missed the boat. They could have shown a mother giving birth, we could have heard the baby crying, but what about seeing the happy family members? What about seeing the mother holding her new born baby? They could have told a moving story, a story every parent could connect with, instead they decided to shock us into paying attention.

Instead of relief or happy or hope, they leave me feeling grossed out and kinda spent emotionally, that’s not what’s going to motivate me to give. The image in my mind is the mother turned on her side crying, is that really the emotion & message they’re trying to convey?

Beyond being off-emotion, I think the ad is off-message. The CG’s feel misordered, they should have put the midwife information into the middle of the ad, and ended with “Make sure a baby’s first day isn’t its last…” which has a nice ring to it and hits the message they’re trying to deliver.

Attention is easy, real emotion is hard, this ad takes the easy route and is less effective for it.

The power of personality

January 13, 2014

A lot of catching up to do in the pre-Super Bowl quiet….

We’ll start today with this ad from a friend of mine. I usually try not to comment on videos when I know the folks involved, but this video is worth taking a few minutes out to watch.

What I appreciate about this video beside the clever presentations is that the personality of the candidate shines through. Now I’ve never met Daylin Leach, but I imagine he’s exactly like what I see here. The gimmicks in the video add to the authenticity of the final product presenting an image of an unrepentant liberal with boundless energy, someone who is serious but doesn’t take himself too seriously.

The other day, I was on a call and someone said, “Voters are looking for cues about a candidate.” I thought that was really insightful. Watch the video again — what cues do you get about Leach?

After three minutes you feel like you know him. Now, if you met him in person or watched him give a speech or already had an opinion of Leach and what you observed or thought doesn’t match with the video (in other words the video presents an inauthentic version of the candidate), that’s when campaigns get into trouble.  The other question is does Leach’s personality so evident here come across in the other aspects of his campaign?

In other words, can the campaign present a unified vision of itself to the public? Its a theme I’ve talked about before, ads are a great medium to communicate your message, emotion and personality, but its’ not enough to communicate it, the campaign or brand has to embody it too.

Personality is great, too often campaigns run from their candidates personality, offering a watered down version of what they think voters want (consumer brands do this too). But what voters (and consumers) want is authenticity, Apple is as extreme a brand identity as any mainstream brand, it seems to do well with buyers. This video is powered by personality, and that’s a good thing.

I’ll take a story with that burrito

September 16, 2013

This Chipotle video is the latest video to “go viral” — as of this writing it has over four million hits.

It’s worth watching too full of pathos and top notch storytelling (the animation is pretty clutch too, from the folks who create Morris Lessmore and his Flying Book & Numberlys). The video is three minutes long, and I’ve already watched it four or five times. Heck, the video isn’t even for the Chipotle per se, but a trailer for their new game!

I’m not going to break down all the reasons why I think this is a great video, either you get it or you don’t. But I do think there are some important lessons you can learn from this video when thinking about your videos or ads:

1. Story matters. They build a compelling story that’s not about the brand, but is precisely about what the brand stands for. A story that shows you their values.

2. Emotions matter. Related to that first lesson, this story is right on-emotion. Imagine a video that had the same message, but maybe it was a narrator with beautiful shots of fresh produce or some other genre appropriate video. It might get the message across, but would anyone watch? And more to the point would anyone remember or believe it?

3. Production Values Matter. Maybe the most important point I could make here.  We all have had clients ask us to produce a viral video, and when we ask how much they want to spend, the amount is usually less than you’d spend on an I-Pad.

Chipotle did fall into that trap. They didn’t say well, it’s only for the web, they produced a top-notch, story with top-notch production values, and I’m guessing they spent more than some people spend on their tv ads.

4. Your story matters. Chipotle is telling your their story (anti-corporate, fresh food, maybe even anti-establishment), but what they’re trying to do is resonate with your story? Are you anti-corporate, believe in fresh food, do you want to be a conformist your whole life? By reflecting your story in theirs, the create believers, they create fans. I’ll take 1 over 10 customers any day of the week.

I love seeing videos like this one. These ads and videos are why I write this blog. Chipotle could have fallen into a trap — hey, we’re just selling burritos, so let’s give ’em a video about how great our burritos are. Instead they told a compelling story that resonates and creates fans, not bad for the price of a burrito.

 

 

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?

Always aim higher

August 29, 2013

A header like, “If you have a heart, this Wrigley gum commercial will make you cry,” set a pretty high bar, but also sets off my ok, I’m gonna call that bluff response. Well, the stupid fricking ad did indeed make me cry or the room got incredibly dusty as it climaxed.

Is the gum a bit of a macguffin here? Sure, it could have been anything, but staking out that space, telling an emotional story about a parent and a child, about sharing something in good times and bad, well that’s powerful. It’s too easy to say, well it’s just gum, we should talk about it’s flavor or it’s ability to solve a problem. Like this crappy gum ad I saw last night:

The Wrigley commercial for Extra gum goes to a higher place on the hierarchy — other gums are minty or clean your mouth, this gum you share and experience, this gum is about love and connection.

The downside here is that I’m not sure this brand of gum has enough of a pre-exisitng space in my brain to make an impression (what’s the brand name again). So an ad like this one for a brand that doesn’t have a position needs repetition in other mediums, it has to tell this same story of sharing again and again in a myriad of different ways (what about directions for making those Origami birds on the inside of each package or a Web site about creating your Wrigley moment).

Still it’s a great ad, and a good reminder that it’s not about the function of the product, but something more.

Being for the middle class doesn’t mean you have to be so mediocre

July 19, 2013

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MbYXOyIwaB4

Christine Quinn is the first candidate up in the NYC Mayor’s race. I only have two short comments to make about this relatively generic ad:

1. Even though she appears in every scene in the ad, I never get a sense of who she is, what kind of person, do I like her or not? As I said above, it’s all rather generic.

2. The final line: “While others talk about fighting for the middle class, I’ve been doing it…” Seems slightly ironic because we’ve just spent :30 seconds with you talking about fighting for the middle class. Yes, I understand she was “talking” about her accomplishments, but still I found it… odd. Maybe it’s because the ad is so generic, and I wasn’t emotionally invested so I’m nit-picking or maybe it’s they’re trying to hard to make their point, the ad yells “4” when it should be whispering “2+2.”

3. (Ok, I know I said two short comments, so you don’t have to read this one if you don’t want.) There’s just so many issues in the ad, I get it, you’re trying to create a sense of what’s she’s done, the breadth of her accomplishments, but it feels like they’re trying to say everything and instead they end up saying nothing.

It seems the middle class is the big issue of the NYC Mayor’s race given this ad and the previous Weiner video I reviewed. Frankly I think Weiner video did a better job of being on-emotion, and showing true empathy. This ad is a list of issues, but ends up less than the sum of it’s parts.

It’s hard to be funny… let’s be angry instead.

July 18, 2013

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iiIaNh0NlGo&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DiiIaNh0NlGo

You know this video (and let’s be clear it’s 45 seconds long so it’s not running on TV) has the potential to be really good. But I think it misses the mark. Why? Because I think it’s way off-emotion.

The ObamaCarenado is trendy for sure, but instead of campy parody they go way over the top with fear and anger. Now, I will say I really liked the end, but in general, this video just feels really angry to me, whatever humor it may have is lost in that anger. Now that may play well to the base, but I don’t think it works so well with independent voters.

Good humor and good parody are hard. The video takes the easy way out, trying for neither and I think it accomplishes less because of it. Had they really bought into the Sharknado what could they have accomplished? Instead it just a macguffin to be angry. I guess that’s one way to go, but the creators of Sharknado have nothing to worry about.

Can you have too much message?

July 16, 2013

This ad just leaves me… I don’t know, kinda flat. The message is right, and it seems like it’s on-message, but I wonder if it’s on-emotion?

I know it looks like an interview, but it sounds like talking points. Is it a case of too much message? Or just the wrong emotional delivery? The story doesn’t feel personal.  

BTW, the McAuliffe campaign is up with this minute long ad:

It’s better, though I’m a little confused by the details. Still I think it works better than the social security ad, especially at the end. I think it’s a smart play to make Cuchinelli appear untrustworthy rather than going after him for being extreme or otherwise too partisan. 

 

Funny is not being on-message (Represent.us ad)

June 17, 2013

Money in politics. It’s an important issue, but one that doesn’t really get the attention it deserves. It’s also one of those issues that if you ask most people they’d agree that money in politics has corrupted our political system. The problem is both the intentisty of their feeling, the vaguenes of what it actually means, and then ultimately, what do you do about the problem (I had  a poli sci professor, Professor Cobb who always said politicians never idtentify a problem without telling you the solution).

This ad is funny, and the gimmick at it’s core seems to be tightly connected to its central message, but I’d argue the ad is both off-message and off-emotion.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot today because it does seem to perfectly capture the zeigiest around this issue but it nagged at me. Here’s the thing, the image of an elderly man is funny. But targetting politicians is too easy, so while the image of an old man on a pole is unexpected, the message that politicians are stippers or whores isn’t so unexpected. Who doesn’t think that already?

Emotionally, the ad uses surprise and anger. But again the surprise isn’t on-message, and we’re already angry at our politicians if Congress’ approval rating means anything.

So really what is the ad asking the audience to do? It’s not driving us to action nor creating a new link or adding a new thought to our understanding of the influence of money in politics.

Refering back to the Apple signature ad I looked at yesterday, this ad does the exact opposite. Apple focuses on the experience that the features create. This ad focuses on the features (politicians will do anything for money) rather than the experience (how congress sells out the middle class to big corporate interests or whatever they’re trying to say).

Most of the time when I criticize gimmicks its because they’re only about getting attention and don’t connect to the core message. Here the issue is slightly different, the gimmick connects to the core, but I think Represent.us has chosen the wrong core. Maybe it gets Represent.us some attention, so in that sense it could be a useful proposition, but it feels like a wasted opportunity to frame an issue and offer a solution.


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