Two Ads I Like and One I Don’t – Joaquim Laurel

Joaquim is Creative Director at VMLY&R Singapore

These days there is a lot of emphasis being placed on brands being able to connect to consumers.  With the wealth of information and platforms at our disposal, there is no shortage of possibilities for brands to make that connection. But connecting to consumers doesn’t always mean that the experience connects back to the brand and its messages.

The challenge we face is no longer just creating connected experiences that our audience will engage with but making sure that they are connecting with the brand and not just because of it. 


Two I Like

Vicks India: One in a Million

In an effort to reinforce the brand belief that care has the power to transform lives, Vicks brilliantly features a heartwarming story of Nisha Lobo, a young girl suffering from ichthyosis, a genetic skin condition. It starts by tracing her life experiences and goes on to illustrate the wonderful life she’s had with her adoptive parents and siblings despite the stigmatization. The ad later reveals that Nisha was abandoned at two weeks old because of the condition.

When creating branded content around true stories, sometimes the challenge is finding the perfect balance between making the audience understand that the film was based on real events, and pushing the narrative and turning it into a believable yet moving cinematic piece.

Going beyond functional storytelling is an industry-wide struggle and I think the agency does this masterfully for a brand like Vick’s that’s built up years of emotional connection with its consumers in India.

Finding the right story for the brand is a feat in itself, but telling that story and hitting the right emotional notes is key to getting the right response from consumers. It’s no wonder the ad raked in 4.9million views on YouTube within a month, and over 21 million to date!

Dominos: If This, Then Domino’s

A clever collaboration with app integration platform If This Then That (IFTTT), this campaign enabled consumers to have a Domino’s pizza delivered after a specific “trigger occasion”, ranging from typical ones like anniversaries or sports matches, to humorous ones like Congress passing a bill.

Continuing on the theme of connecting with consumers, I think Domino’s puts a modern spin on moment marketing. Working around new consumption occasions isn’t new, but what Domino’s did was to make these moments actionable.

Taking this further, they cleverly automated the decision based on personal preferences, thereby customizing the consumer experience whilst remaining on brand. While this may seem a little niche, I love the thinking around determining key consumption moments based on what the consumer defines, versus what the brand wants to dictate.

One I don’t Like

Air Asia: Fancy a Holiday Quickie?

Set to inspire Singaporeans to head off for a quick getaway, this ad depicts a middle-aged wife attempting to seduce her husband whilst their teenage children are at home. The husband eventually gave in, and the couple then booked a flight via Air Asia’s app for a ‘holiday quickie’.

Sometimes a brand just needs a quick and dirty campaign, and as far as I can tell they achieved both. While I do appreciate the attempt to connect with the audience in a humorous way, I feel it failed to go beyond surface-level gags.

It is not easy to do funny well, and a lot of times we fall into the trap of setting up gags versus finding funny truths. I appreciate the aim to move away from a serious vibe, but this was just not funny.

Joaquim Laurel
Joaquim Laurel
Joaquim is Creative Director at VMLY&R Singapore

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