Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Virus Everybody Wants to Spread: Viral Videos

It’s clear to everyone in the industry that the world of advertising is ever-expanding. Along with the use of social media and guerrilla marketing, viral videos are one of the newest ways for advertisers to contact consumers, whether they realize it or not. A small budget production, viral videos have some sort of unusual, often humorous topic to draw in internet users, delighting them to the point where they feel they must share it with their friends.

Take this one, created for Ray Ban sunglasses.

A guy catches a pair of classic Ray Ban shades with his face that are thrown to him by his friend from great distances and heights. The short video culminates in the guy catching the Ray Bans with his face while sitting in the front seat of a moving vehicle. No indication of Ray Ban as a sponsor is apparent until the end of the video when the retailer’s tagline, Never Hide, is written through dirt on the car’s window. The video represents the take-charge, smoothly suave, irreverent attitude of the brand without forcing itself onto its typically laid-back consumers, creating another opportunity for advertising and brand development.

With 4,945,954 views as of 6:16 PM on 3/27/11, the video has achieved viral status and was appreciated enough to inspire a hilarious spoof:

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Campaigns: Ads that make you think, and think again

Campaigns are generally a series of ads with multiple executions expressing a single big idea. Many campaigns simply execute the ad’s main concept through variations on one creative idea, a boring and repetitive waste of time, effort and money. An example of the opposite is available to anyone who’s traveled through a major airport within the last 6 months. The HSBC campaign centering on different points of view in relation to different cultural, religious, social and political traditions or opinions has been logically plastered along almost every long expanse of wall space in airport terminals, skyways and along luggage carousels.

In the space where people’s minds are free to wander while waiting for their flight to be called, their boarding pass to be checked, or their luggage to be returned, HSBC encourages consumers to understand, as HSBC does, that differing opinions are opportunities for potential and a more unified world. The visuals, cropped images with a word superimposed on top, are simple and direct, yet powerful in in their allowance for open-ended interpretations. These ads express a theme that is interesting and relevant not only to consumers in general, but also to HSBC, each in a new, thought-provoking way.

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Reductionism: An Ad’s Best Friend

Between headline, copy, visual, tagline and logo, the intended message of an ad can be lost. To be simple and direct, and to make an impression on viewers, accomplished ads have shown that reductionism is key. These ads choose one or two elements and make them powerful on their own, but not so much so that they clash with or overlap the others.

This ad for Gaylea spreadable butter is interesting in its execution, using a strong image to draw in butter-using and toast-eating readers. The unusual headline, especially with the word “brutality,” is definitely an attention-getter, but the awkward yellow square at the bottom left is unnecessary and repeats the ad’s idea multiple times. Just the headline, the visual, and a picture of the butter container that says Spreadables would have gotten the “Butter that spreads” idea across more succinctly.

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