Wednesday, 27 August 2014

I wonder...

For the last couple of years, the advertising industry seems to have been intent on making the world cry.  Commercials that tug on the heartstrings have always been popular, but sharing on a worldwide scale means that your 60 seconds of schmalz can now be seen from Nigeria to New Zealand within a few seconds of its release. From P&G's Moms to John Lewis' Christmas weepies to the faithful friend comforting his widowed master in the Cesar spot to the dad who makes birds from the Extra chewing gum silver paper, every Hollywood trick is there.

All the Buzzfeeds and their ilk are chock a block with lists of "X commercials guaranteed to make you cry" while composers of maudlin music must be having a field day.

A lot of these ads are brilliant, and will go down in history as greats, but there are plenty that (for me) veer into being just that little bit cheesy - and don't necessarily have a strong connection to the brand. Tapping into emotions is a neat way to get remembered, and to associate your brand with strong and positive feelings.

But there are other emotions besides making you laugh and making you cry and I have a feeling that brands who want to stand out should look beyond these.

Perhaps one route that is a little neglected these days is that of wonder. Instead of making you cry, commercials that take your breath away, make you feel wow, a sense of awe, a feeling that I couldn't have done that. With the emphasis on CGC these days, I feel there is also room for brands to also spend their budget to surprise and enchant us - to produce commercials that are almost works of art.

My recent favourite is the latest IKEA commercial in "The Wonderful Everyday" campaign, from Mother and Juan Cabral. It's beautiful to look at, doesn't dumb anything down or seek a lowest common denominator and has tapped into cultural relevance with its echoes of the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony.

But back to all those weepies. Is it perhaps a big marketing ploy by Kleenex? This is the brand most often mentioned in all those articles about ads that make you cry.

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