Cadbury Dairy Milk #GoodLuckGirls, Axe Lite and other recent creative ads

I wasn’t able to post anything new in my blog for a couple of weeks. Here are some creative ads from recent times which caught my eye and have gained visibility in social media too.

Cadbury Dairy Milk: recreating the ‘cricket’ ad

Kuch khaas hai zindagi mein’ (‘There’s something special about life’) was part of an iconic ad from the late 90s. Those who were young adults at that time (and even those growing up in that decade) still recall the ad fondly and likely to remember every element of the ad from the jingle to the shot breakdown. The last spontaneous jig and the slightly embarrassed laughter of the cricketer were also key frames etched in memory. The film and the back story to it are part of marketing & advertising history in India and are business school case studies. Back then, the intent was to broaden the appeal of the brand beyond children and ‘brings out the child in you’ was a nice interpretation meant to appeal to young adults. In a clever move, the agency has re-created the ad frame to frame, retaining the old jingle too. The ad and the story around it has gone viral across general news and trade portals. The ‘twist’ in the new ad is the gender reversal – to show a women cricketer as the protagonist who scores a sixer and a man as the spectator-friend who does the jig. The timing is perfect as there is a renewed interest in women’s cricket and an overall awareness or inclination towards gender equality in all spheres – including sports. In advertising circles, it is sure to evoke the ‘I wish I had thought of this’ reaction.

The amplification around the ad has been great – celebrities, marketing & advertising folks (on Linked) and even other brands have voiced their liking for the ad, giving it an additional buzz. Nevertheless I feel that the both the versions (the first one more so perhaps) evoke a positive response due to the execution – not just the central premise itself. The casting, acting, jingle and singing all came together to bring a smile in most viewers’ face. ‘Brings out the child in you’ or ‘triggers spontaneous cute acts in situations least expected’ has been done many times by many brands and I have always found such to have a tenuous link to the brand. In this case, it works doubly well because indulging in chocolate is a craving for adults too and the ‘not just for kids’ premise coupled with the expression of ‘there’s a child in all of us’ has a huge impact.

Axe Lite: less irresistible

I like it when brands don’t themselves too seriously. For a long time, Axe (known as Lynx in some markets) doubled down on the ‘irresistible to the opposite sex’ platform showcasing the protagonist someone women swoon over. This led to several risqué executions and some went overboard in objectifying women. There was a time when two brands from the Unilever stable – Axe and Dove where at opposite ends of the spectrum. If you see some of the executions of Lynx in the UK you’d have to wonder how they got past approvals – they’d be totally unacceptable in today’s world. There’s nothing wrong in the ‘attractive to the opposite sex’ platform as long as it done with good taste – like this one for Axe Lite which, apparently, makes you just slightly less irresistible.

Agency: MullenLowe

Fox’s: long lasting

In the food & beverage business, there are a few commonly seen ‘single-minded propositions’: ‘too good to share’, ‘will go to any length to get it’ and ‘long lasting’. Several great campaigns have been created these three premises. Remember the lady fending off a lion for her Perrier? Or the Diet Pepsi ad starring Michael J Fox (Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai in India) or several Thumps Up ads? These fit into the first two ideas. And then there’s the long lasting gum, candy and such like. A recent ad from Fox’s dramatises the long lasting effect in a visually engaging manner.

Agency: Joint, London

DHL: No time to die

The James Bond flick ‘No time to die’ was meant to be released late last year. The theatrical release has been postponed since several markets were still under lockdown. The anticipation and wait has worked well for the franchise in my opinion as they are able to milk the brand properties that much longer. A recent ad from DHL , the official partner of the film has released a TVC which drives home the twin messages of ‘assured delivery’ and trusted logistics partner.

Since Casino Royale (2006), DHL have been responsible for the transport and logistics solutions related to the shooting ​and production of the 007 films. For the highly anticipated No Time To Die, DHL moved the film and stunt equipment ​between locations in Norway, Jamaica, Italy and around the UK. From the legendary Aston Martin to key props, DHL’s logistics experts ensured everything was delivered on time. 

Agency: 180 Amsterdam

There is no twist to the plot and as a viewer you know that they delivery would be made but it keeps you hooked thanks to the stunts and the James Bond props.

Screwfix: idents

Remember the MTV idents? Those were short (5-10 second) fillers on the channel meant to reinforce the branding of the channel. ‘Music Television’ and the logo were shared in quirky situations. Other channels too use idents for their own brand or to promote a particular programme or sports event. In such idents the sponsoring brand’s design elements or ‘story’ is woven into the visuals. The recent set of idents for Scewfix in the UK do a great job of highlighting the brand in a visually engaging manner that sits well with the football match telecast cues.

Agency: Five By Five

Life360: ‘parental puberty’

It is always intriguing when a familiar situation is presented with a twist in the cast of characters – the viewer is setup to expect the unexpected. Parents usually make a big event out of talking to their young teens about what they think are sensitive topics. That ‘awkward moment’ is given a twist where the child is the one giving the ‘we need to chat’ vibes to the mother. I loved the coined phrase – parental puberty and the way the product’s features (of a Family Locator & GPS Tracker) is woven into the story.

Agency: Wunderman Thompson

NHS: how one crisis has caused another

COVID-19 has triggered a diverse set of responses from brands. They range from urging people to stay home (during the strict lockdowns last year), follow appropriate behaviour such as wearing masks and to get vaccinated. While the intent was good, some of the brands lacked credibility in trying to associate with a ‘healthcare’ cause. In the UK, NHS has been doing some stellar work to raise awareness on several aspects of the pandemic crisis – the mental stress on healthcare providers being the latest. A powerful, gutting film which shows the reality of what the medical community goes through.

Agency: adam&eveDDB

Volvo Trucks: Joyride

I am not sure if the brand is abandoning its ‘safety’ platform (I hope they don’t) – but a new ad from Volvo is dramatising peace of mind as a benefit and extrapolates that into a joyride for both the truck driver and his dog. As they say, one can’t go too wrong if the ad evokes a ‘so sweet!’ response owing to casting pets or babies.

Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors

Ladbrokes: casino balloon

Diehard sport fans see a game in any situation – that’s the premise I got from this ad for the betting brand , Ladbrokes. And it all falls into place with the ‘We play together’ tag line for a casino version of the brand. Loved the energy and the plot.

Agency: Neverland

Skittles: space edition

This isn’t really an ad but I loved the creative thinking from Skittles when they got to know that Jeff Bezos’ team carried the brand in their recent space flight.

Concern Worldwide: fake news

Concern Worldwide is Ireland’s largest aid and humanitarian agency. Like other organisations in the domain, they rely on funding from donors and the general public to meet their objectives. Common people can only donate small sums while the super wealthy can afford to donate large amounts – that’s the belief we all have. #UnfortunatelyFakeNews announce a few actions wealthy powerful could do to end extreme poverty but present it as a ‘wish list’ or a day dream.

Agency: Fred & Farid

Dunzo: #KannadaStarterPack

The rise of social and digital media has had a positive impact on localised advertising. Both national and regional brands can now reach a much sharper audience. We’ve seen Tata Tea create regional ads anchored on a local idea and executed in a manner which strike a chord with them. The startup world has also contributed to this phenomenon crafting ads which make sense for a sharply defined geography. Dunzo, is a notable brand in this context using all their platforms they are active on, pretty well. A recent initiative from them – a full page ad and a booklet offering everyday Kannada phrases to Bangaloreans is a great initiative.

Which one was your favourite? Comment in.

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