Raise your hand if you’re a serial binge watcher. I definitely am. But as I listened to a recent Marketing Against the Grain podcast episode, I realised how much I missed TV commercials. In their episode “5 Marketing Lessons from the Best Ads of 2023,” they made me nostalgic for the days when ad breaks during favourite shows were as entertaining as the shows themselves.
The creative ads provided a mental palate cleanser between plot twists, while also giving us those catchy jingles that stick in our heads. While we can blast through episodes ad-free today, I miss those amusing interludes that allowed us to process what we had just watched. The podcast reminded me that exceptional ads can be an artform themselves. But what can we learn from them?
First up – Apple and their customer-centric iPhone campaign. Their strategy here was to make the customer the star of the story by showing how the new iPhone makes their lives easier – including those who are blind and deaf. Marketing 101 right there: make your peeps feel special and they’ll keep coming back for more!
Next, Coca-Cola brought some artful storytelling into the mix with their “Masterpiece” ad. By blending art and a bottle of Coke™ in a museum, they found a super creative way to weave their product into the narrative.
Then we’ve got Popcorners who stirred things up with their bold Super Bowl ad, “Breaking Bad”. They took a risk with an unexpected drug dealer comparison but went all-in on the edgy idea. They weren’t afraid to stand out from the crowd.
Now cue the tears with Alzheimer’s Research and their animated ad. It starts sweet but hits you right in the feels as the harsh reality unfolds. Their strategic emotional buildup makes the message really hit home.
And finally, Dove kept it real with their empowering take on filtered selfies. They aligned the “Reverse Selfie” campaign perfectly with their brand promise of promoting real beauty and body positivity. Way to spark a movement, Dove!
My fave? The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 for adidas. Taking stars off the pitch and putting them in a brightly coloured, high-energy spot (a supermarket), was a smart way to pique the interest of younger, football-lite fans.
Who knew we could actually learn something from ads? The best ads out there don’t just sell stuff – they pull you into a story that hits you in the feels and stays true to the brand. Creative ads also take risks to craft compelling stories that get audiences hooked. Might be time for me to plop down in front of the TV again for a masterclass in marketing storytelling!
What the world was musing over the past week
Our global ambassador of giggles
South Africa’s Tourism Campaign with Trevor Noah has landed! Is that (alleged) R33 million ad worth the hype? Let Trevor’s humour be your guide as he tackles travel questions about SA. (Warning: if you’re easily offended by rhinos being romantic, don’t watch it).
Seeing is believing in the era of AI art
The winners of the inaugural AI Art Awards have been revealed, with top honours going to a vintage-style, black-and-white portrait depicting two sisters affectionately embracing an octopus. The image provokes an intriguing question – can art created by artificial intelligence truly be considered art?
Shopping on the edge
Nicknamed China’s most “inconvenient convenience store,” a tiny cliffside shop supplies refreshments to climbers. Defying gravity, the aptly-named curiosity literally hangs off the rockface. The improbable shop shows how the most needed niches can be filled in the most unlikely places.
A creepy discovery under floorboards
An Australian woman battling damp floorboards had them lifted. What lay underneath was worthy of a horror movie. Would you still want to live in this house?