Empathy is the toughest part for creative to work out in an ad. If the works can touch consumer’s hearts, it does not only make people cry or giggle a lot, it also changes their perception of a brand.
I’ve chosen the following two ads I like. In fact, it is not easy since there are millions of great ads appearing in the world every day, every piece is full of effort and consumes a long time to think and to rethink. It’s not an easy job under the condition that you would like to help the brand to do something new, creative and outstanding.
Two I like
Toyota – “Loving Eyes -Toyota Safety Sense”
Apart from the special execution of two different angles from father and daughter under the same scenario, it actually shows different Toyota models in different stages throughout the commercial. It’s a Toyota product ad with new and historic models, while it also shows the love and care from a brand over the years.
Normally, an emotional TV commercial must have some milestone scenarios in different stages of life. No doubt this ad also used this tactic. It starts from a baby being born, through to kindergarten, primary school, secondary school and stops at the big day – marriage. But, the TVC doesn’t show this in an ordinary way. In the first half of the commercial, it’s a father’s point of view of his loved on.
Next, it flips to the angle of the daughter telling the detail and emotions of how she sees her father through the years in their Toyota. Maybe you will say the ending of this commercial has tagged in a “safety sense” function, which has no relation to the story. However, I see it differently because as a father who drives a car, he always turns his head to see his loved one at the back. This is why the father (driver) needs a safety sense function to protect his love.
If you turn on the TV in China, you will see on most of the car commercials with cars running from the city to the outskirts, a manifesto script that are similar after all, but with a different logo in the end. Thus, this Toyota commercial gives client a product ad from the first second till the end which satisfied their desire. While most importantly, it touches the consumer, creates empathy and turns Toyota to a brand with ‘Love’.
The second one I like is P&G Olympic “Thanks Mom”
Similarly to the Toyota ad, it touches consumers. Every time you watch this “Thanks Mom” commercial, you feel thankful to your mother.
The difference between this P&G ad to the Toyota ad is, there is no product shot or the product shot appears naturally in this 2-minute ad.
I myself have worked with P&G before, and I think most of the creative talents who have worked on P&G know they are not an easy client. This client taught me about OAT, ATV, RTB…terms that lead to a formatted commercial. There is nothing wrong with doing ads in this formatted structure if you see it from their global business/marketing angle.
However, creatively, it is a big challenge for us. A formatted ad is easy to create because in which second you need to insert the “problem”, in which second you need to insert the “RTB” and put in “benefit” shots in the end, then the job is done. A formatted ad is easy to copy from your competitors as well, especially in China.
Therefore, only by creating unique and original ads with creative business solutions, can no other brand duplicate you.
Back to this P&G “Thanks Mom” commercial, I guess it should be one of the best P&G commercials by far. It’s not a product ad. It’s a series of product ads. Moreover, it helps P&G on its branding.
“The hardest job in the world is the best job in the world.” It makes me want to call my Mom to say “Thank You”. “P&G Proud sponsor of Moms” makes you feel this brand has its own responsibility. Mom cares about families and lives.
If every P&G commercial or most big global brands ads are going to create empathy instead of hard-selling, we will have lots of good advertising. And, maybe this column will change to be Ten ads I like and One I don’t.
One I don’t: MoBike Copycat
It’s not one single piece of ad. It’s a “category”: Copycat.
Most of the time, we find references via the internet, then show the client and say this is what we are looking for in the final result or output. However, the meaning of ‘Reference’ in the Cambridge Dictionary is “a quick look at a book, piece of paper, etc. in order to find information and help”. So, it doesn’t mean to make it exactly the same.
In the advertising industry, there are no laws or rules to protect our creativity, our art direction or our copywriting. Everything relies on your heart of ethic. To some creatives, maybe they would say, “I modify a little bit based on the reference only. It is my own creativity, not a copycat.” Yet, a copycat or not? Once your work has launched, the whole world will tell.
There is one example in China. Mobike, a Chinese local mobility bike brand. Mobike has launched two pieces of print ads. Take a look, are they very “similar” to what Hermes and Lacoste has launched previously?
Why do we love to be a creative? Because we can ‘create’ something new, or even something the market has never seen before. If our industry is full of copycat creative, clients don’t need creative talents anymore. They will choose A.I. technology to do something similar, instead of human wisdom.
Another example, Uncle Martian…it is a shame to not only creative people.
In regards to ‘finding reference’, sometimes I will ask my colleagues, “why not you create something for other admen in the world to reference but finding reference from others?”
Maybe this is the question of “Do you want to create something people like instead of hate?”