Communicating through ads: can you feel them?

Communicating through ads: can you feel them?
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First Published: Sat, Jun 14 2008. 12 31 AM IST
Updated: Sat, Jun 14 2008. 12 31 AM IST
Well, before you answer that question, let me get into why I’m asking that question in the first place.
As avid television watchers, we are bombarded with advertisements through the day. With the number of products going up, and competition becoming fiercer, more and more ads are telling us what product to choose and why we should choose it over others. And most of the advertisers are asking: Did the consumer see and hear my product?
In the midst of this chaos, there are some minds at work, within advertisers and advertising agencies, who aren’t asking if their ads have reached consumers but, rather, “have our ads touched consumers?”
And it is this change that seems to be responsible for creating a trend that sees advertisers communicating through the use of human context and feelings.
Take, for example, the Cadbury Gorilla ad released by Fallon last year. No product shot, no one seen eating a chocolate, and it definitely doesn’t tell you why it is a better chocolate. What it does show you is a Gorilla playing the drums.
Eating a chocolate brings joy and a smile, but rather than telling us about joy, Cadbury just showed us joy. And, who doesn’t want to see joy?
When posted on Youtube, the ad received 50,000 hits in the first week, with many proclaiming it as the best ad they had ever seen.
And that’s the truth. Product stories and benefits may find resonance among a few, but true human emotions and behaviour can find millions nodding in agreement.
The spots from Microsoft Corp. for Halo 3, a game for their Xbox console, went down the same path.
They took the game into the real world. And what they did produce was a series of ads that had testimonials from would-be war veterans. The words could easily have been from a soldier who fought in Iraq and that’s what helped Microsoft connect to consumers at a human level, suddenly transforming the gaming experience into a real world experience.
Both these ads, along with a host of others from Coca-Cola, Adidas, Dove and Smirnoff, to name a few, have not only achieved impact from the advertiser’s point of view, but also won accolades for the agencies who created them. And all they did was show us stories shot through a human eye, yet, crafted beautifully and in a refreshing manner.
The Ikea lamp ad that won at Cannes a couple of years back, was perhaps seen as being too radical at that time.
However, today, playing within the fields of human emotions, to convey more than just product benefits so as to offer consumers values and ideology they can attach themselves to is the next big idea.
Whether you are a consumer, advertiser or working for an advertising agency, these ads seem to have won our hearts. Would they win a metal at Cannes? Well, that’s another question.
K.V. Sridhar is national creative director of Leo Burnett India Pvt. Ltd.
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First Published: Sat, Jun 14 2008. 12 31 AM IST