DIRECTV, Deliveroo and ‘Did Zomato deliver?’: views on creative 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 compelling TV spots from DIRECTV, Samsung and Deliveroo among others.

DIRECTV Stream: get your TV together

‘Best of both worlds’ is a common theme in advertising and leads to interesting visual or creative possibilities. In the US, DIRECTV Stream delivers live TV and ‘on-demand’ in one service. The proposition is brought alive in a humorous spot starring Serena Williams playing Wonder Woman (and John McEnroe making a special appearance). With so much going on it is still a simple idea told well.

Agency: TBWAChiatDay Los Angeles

Samsung: The Journey

Storytelling has not just become a buzz word of late, it is sold as a skill. It is pitched as a key requirement for CEOs and as a tool which gives brands an edge over competition. Truth is, story telling has been part of good advertising always. There are several classics from the 80s & 90s which told engaging stories anchored on the simple stuff. Remember the Dhara cooking oil ad, famously known as the ‘jalebi’ ad? Or the lovely, ‘You and I’ ad for Hutch? I was reminded of such when I saw this ad which tells the ‘story’ of a ‘little toy monkey as it dreams of being powered by the SolarCell Remote and goes on his very own green adventure‘.

Agency: BBH, Singapore

Deliveroo: Grocery Utopia

’30-minute delivery or free’ was a claim made not-so-long ago by pizza delivery brands. In the era of ‘Quick commerce’ that would be 20-minutes late. In India, there’s a brand war going in with several delivery-service brands out-promising each other in terms of speed of delivery. In UK, Deliveroo takes a different pitch -perhaps because it is a market with several big retail chains which enjoy great equity. Anyway, loved the visual styling of the ad which promises ‘grocery utopia’.

Agency: Pablo

EDF Energy: sleep

Isn’t a sharp, distinct creative all about perspectives? An electric vehicle charging service in UK has this promise: ‘charging overnight from just 4.5p per kWh’. It is presented as ‘busy doing nothing’ – i.e. while people are asleep. Sweet.

Agency: Havas

No.7: We see you

Demonstrating inclusivity and showcasing diversity seems to be an important goal for marketers nowadays. Sometimes it is limited to tokenism – in the US & UK showing a model wearing a headscarf, for example. Cosmetics brand ‘No7 found 56% of the UK with non-white skin tones do not feel represented by the skincare industry with products that are designed for them’.

The familiar phrase ‘Now you see me, now you don’t’ is apt to bring alive this information and to launch the Retinol range which is designed ‘all skin types and tones’.

Agency: The Pharm

Facebook: More Together

Major festivals such as Diwali, Eid and maybe Holi or Raksh Bandhan are seen as opportunities for advertising; the plots revolve around customs, traditions and sentiments associated with such festivals. Regional festivals such as Pujo, Pongal and Onam are sure-shot candidates. Add events such as Women’s Day and Mother’s Day to the mix and ‘Moment Marketing’ and you have the annual calendar fixed. Wonder where’s the time and monies for thematic efforts. Anyway, in my view, most brands take a tick-box approach to festival and occasion-driven tactical ads, more from FOMO and that a competition brand might pip them to the post. It doesn’t mean brands should not plan for such activities (including ‘moment marketing’) – they should put in efforts only if the strategy and output makes business sense. The message should add back to the brand’s thematic advertising (assuming there is a strong one) and do so in an effortless, relevant manner – not as a force fit.

A real-life story from last year in Kerala during Onam forms the background for this long-format film for Facebook. Even if one wasn’t aware of it, the denouement is no surprise but the slick, authentic execution holds one’s interest. Nicely done.

Agency: dentsu Mcgarrybowen

Churchill Insurance: chapters of chill

I liked this campaign from a strategic perspective. As a car insurance brand, safety of the driver is paramount. When on the road with family, kids can be a distraction. To keep kids engaged, Churchill Insurance created a set of audiobooks last year. A new set of audio books have been released with ‘mindfulness’ as a theme ‘to reconnect with the outside world following a long lockdown period’.

Agency: Engine Creative

I liked the subtle branding in the naming of the character and the attention to detail.

Zomato: duty first

Apparently these two ads have garnered much flak and comments on social media. In my view, purely as a single-minded proposition – that a Zomato executive puts duty (of delivery) before his personal wishes these ads come through. The ad agency has been true to that brief. I wonder if youngsters among the audience would even get the ‘Jadoo’ reference (as the movie is quite old) but there have several memes around that character of late so they might at least know the context. There were cribs about the slim chances of celebrities answering the door themselves; I guess ‘suspension of disbelief’ is a thing with advertising. No one believes that success in a job interview is due to a soap, talc or deodorant.

Agency: McCann

However, the controversy seems to be around two main issues which are beyond the ad agency’s mandate: the pressure on executives to deliver on or before time (and its fallout which makes them take risks on the road) and the remuneration to such executives. The brand could have anticipated trouble on these fronts and avoided releasing them now – especially after news stories as recent as three weeks ago. So instead of creating a feel-good vibe about the brand the campaign has diverted attention to a contentious topic of ‘exploitation’. Also, the other big competitor in this space isn’t facing any issues in terms of delayed deliveries. So I am wondering how such an angle is a competitive advantage or likely to convert into brand consideration or choice. As a user, while on-time delivery is important, I am not seeing it an industry problem left to be solved by one brand. The intent of getting consumers to appreciate the sense of duty of a delivery executive is good and that is better achieved by in-app features (already in use) such as urging consumers to leave a tip, write a positive review or know more about the delivery executive’s profile.

What are your views? Do comment in.

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