Pocari Sweat, a visual masterpiece without computer graphics from Japan and other top ads of the week

Every week, I attempt to share a compilation of clutter-breaking creative ads and occasionally some commentary on the business of advertising. As many have noted, a majority of the ads out there go un-noticed, so managing to break the clutter is actually a big deal. This week’s compilation includes TV ad for Samsung Galaxy, an intriguing spot from Japan and more.

Galaxy Z Fold2: flex your way

There was a time when except for the iPhone, rest of the smartphones (i.e those in the Android world) would focus on technical specifications in their advertising. We’ve come a long way since then. Samsung was obsessed with poking fun at the iPhone dramatising all the features (or lack of them) in the latter – whether it was the small screen, battery life or lack of headphone jack. Ironically, Samsung too adopted some of what it mocked. Another aspect of Samsung’s marketing is to beat Apple to market – whether it was the smart watch (with Samsung Gear) or with foldable phones. Of late, Samsung’s advertising is focused more on upping the ‘desire quotient’ which is already high for its premium range.

A new ad for Galaxy Z Fold2 is a visually engaging film showcasing the foldable phone and all that it can do without a laundry list of technical specifications. Our purchase decisions are made by the emotional brain. The rational brain is only good at ‘rationalising’ what the emotional brain has already decided. The high end versions of mobile phones bet on stimulating the emotional brain and evoking an irrational desire to acquire it. They too offer great value for money. In such scenario, tech specs only bring the pitch several notches down. In this context, this ad has the right upscale cues with playful visuals helping to imbue the brand with irrational ‘want’.

Agency: Ogilvy

LG OLED: Light up your world

‘Transporting to you to another world’ is a common theme in several categories of ads. A sip of a drink or a bite of snack brand can be dramatised to offer a transformative experience. A new ad for LG’s new OLED evo, which has self-lit pixel technology dramatises the feature in a surreal setting and visual play of lights. The film has a surreal, mesmerising feel to it and I found it riveting.

Agency: The&Partnership

Pocari Sweat: But Then I Saw You

In the advertising world, ads from Japan are considered to be quirky, even bizarre. For those outside of Japan they may not seem like regular ‘template’ driven commercials and it is a good thing. A new ad for Pocari Sweat, an ‘ion supply drink’ from Japan is creating a lot of buzz in the advertising world. It tells the story of a young woman who seems to move forward as everyone around her. She then suddenly runs in the opposite direction, ‘making her own path’ as it were. She is then joined by a friend and they both trod off into the horizon not before sipping the product. It may seem like a mundane story but the visual effects are all the more stunning considering that there were no computer graphics involved.

Agency: Dentsu

The film aims to convey a deeper meaning:

Forging your own path in life is hard, but we believe it’s fun too. If you have a friend running with you, you’ll feel braver. The spring of 2021 is starting. Hold out your hands. You’ll be able to touch what you’re reaching for. The wind that’s pushing you back will become the wind at your back.”

Source

The film involved setting up a 278-feet long, moving set and other ‘practical effects’ as can be seen in this ‘making of’ film.

Renault Occasions: second hand

It is unlikely that used cars have premium cues built in as there is a feeling of ‘hand me down’ with such. However, perceptions are changing when it comes to ownership of automobiles. Many prefer not owning a car as urban transport is changed by aggregators. Used cars are also beginning to be seen as smart buys as they contribute to the circular economy. A new ad from Renault aims to convey that they are committed to this market for decades. I loved the setting, the juxtaposition of a contemporary car in the 1960s look & feel and the woman taking charge.

Agency: Publicis Conseil



Elena’s ice cream: Adiós Amor Adiós

Thanks to pop culture, indulging in ice-cream, chocolate or alcohol is associated with overcoming heartbreak blues. A new product initiative for Elena’s an ice cream brand in Mexico includes 5 layers of flavours, supposedly to match the 5 stages of break up. I liked it because of its buzz-worthy nature and attempt to anchor a product feature into a common consumer behaviour.

Agency: VMLY&R Commerce

Nuud gum: packaging & identity

Did you know that regular chewing gum is made of single-use plastic and isn’t compostable? A new biodegradable gum brand Nuud ‘aims to rid the world of the millions of tons of polymer contained in conventional, synthetic chewing gums’. The proposition is summed up in ‘Chew plants, not plastic’ and the branding elements are big, bold and visually appealing.

Design agency: Mother Design

Differin: acne explosion

It is said that the best of ads make the viewer ‘feel’ something. It could make us laugh, cry, smile or even evoke a sense of disgust. Apparently, pimple popping is a thing (to get rid of the problem) but can leave marks on the skin. A new ad from Differin creates visual metaphors of this act and a sense of foreboding can be felt at the beginning of each sequence before the solution is presented.

Agency: Deutsch NY

JSW Cement: where in Kerala?

Advertising for India is tough. In a country with 17 major languages and regional differences in language, food and cultural habits it’s difficult to find a universal theme and also express it well across languages. Most ads are made in Mumbai – either in Hindi or English and then translated into regional languages. The translations are usually literal and far removed from colloquial speak. The approach is one of rationalising spends as it is impossible for every brand to shoot bespoke regional versions. If a regional market is big, a brand invests in specific communication relevant to that geography. Hamam and Asian Paints for Tamil Nadu, Tata Tea for various regions including Kerala are some examples. The advantage of hearing a familiar language, spoken naturally and seeing visuals of ‘home’ are obvious – they build a strong affinity. A new ad from JSW Cement uses a familiar conversation starter among Malayalis, ‘which region of Kerala are you from?’ and weaves in the proposition of a cement suitable for diverse climatic conditions of the state.

Agency: Stealth Mode, Bangalore

Merely sharing this ad evoked this response on Twitter:

Bhima Jewellery: pure as love

As a customer of Bhima Jewellers, a regional brand in India, my perception of the brand is one of a traditional, conservative brand. Nothing I have seen thus far in terms of advertisements from the brand suggests otherwise – classic category cues of a model looking into camera. A new TVC from the brand with a transgender as a protagonist is evoking social media chatter and opinions from seasoned marketing folk. According to this article, Meera Singhania Rehani, the star of the film, is a 22-year-old student from Ambedkar University, Delhi. Rehani who got her gender reaffirmation surgery last year identifies herself as an artist.

In my view, the ad is well made and feels genuine (right from the casting to the acting). It does not have a plasticky feel to it and the treatment is real, matter of fact. It has done well to avoid the over-the-top emotional tear jerker route. It remains to be seen if it appeals to the core audience of the brand and more importantly if they are consistent with such story lines. Interestingly, another big brand in the category saw a fairly conventional ad which is likely to have mass appeal.

Agency: Animal

Magicpin: bread ad

When an ad campaign is spoofed by another brand, especially a competitor, you know it has made an impact. There is no doubt that CRED’s recent ad starring cricketer Rahul Dravid was popular with social media abuzz with discussions on it. A new ad from Magicpin, a brand with a similar proposition of shopping rewards takes pot shots at CRED by referring to ‘useless’ Bread Points. Actor Vijay Raaz does a great job of dialogue delivery and the ad evokes laughs. I have seen the Magicpin signage outsidde several restaurants in Bangalore for a couple of years. The ad made me download the app just for a feature comparison to CRED. I am an occasional user of CRED in any case as I prefer to pay my credit card bills through my bank app. Nevertheless, interesting to see a combative ad in this space.

Which was your favourite? Do comment in.

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