Thursday, May 18, 2006

What makes a great advert?

I was watching TV the other night and I saw a brilliant advertisement.

It is the one for the Honda (Civic I think). It shows a full choir singing the sounds that a car would make whilst making a journey. The voices appear to replicate the exact sounds made as the car encounters different road surfaces and different weather conditions along its journey. From the sound made as the car splashes through puddles in the rain to the sound of the tyres as it drives over a cattle grid, they are all there. It finishes rather cornily, as the car accelerates into the sunset and the choir reaches a crescendo.

To me it is a great piece of creative advertising. I admire the creativity behind it, I think the idea and its execution are stunning. I am just not sure that it is a good advert.


Because it doesn't put across any unique selling points about the car itself. It could be an ad for any make of car and it would probably have the same effect on me.
Sure, it creates a desire within me to think of an idea like the ad itself, but it doesn't make me want to buy a Honda. This is the Company that gave us another innovative and stunning ad, the one with a "domino type" of chain built around mechanical components from one of their cars.
Same principle, something visually and aurally stunning, just different execution.

On the other hand there is a TV ad I have seen recently for a new Volvo convertible. It is trying to push the more emotional aspects of the Volvo brand, rather than concentrating on safety, as they have in the past. It is centred around the word "feel" and is accompanied by press ads.

For me it works. It arouses my emotions. I have found myself looking at Volvos, not the old fashioned ones, but this particular model. Please don't tell anyone I told you this though.

It's a funny subject, advertising, particularly TV advertising. I think that, here in Western Europe, we are lucky to be bombarded on a daily basis by some of the most advanced ideas in advertising combined with all the latest products. Every time I go to Sri Lanka I am intrigued when I see the way in which advertising there differs to the UK. It looks to be many years behind in its development but no doubt that gap will decrease rapidly over the next few years.

But sometimes I see something here and think that the ad men have got so much up their own arses and made something to appeal to themselves, forgetting that they are not the target market.

Mr Honda may have come up with some TV ads that win all the awards and get all the prizes but, in years to come, most will remember the brilliant adverts and forget what they were advertising.

The all time great adverts are surely those that are remembered as ads but also as products. Over the years some of the Guiness ones have been memorable and some of the Levi 501 ads have become as iconic as the jeans themselves. The big thing about all of them is that we remember the product as well as the advertisement.

When I think of the Jeans ad with Nick Kamen in the launderette I can remember the song, I can remember almost every detail and I can remember the exact product, Levi 501s. When I think of the "dancing Guiness man" ad, I can remember every detail. I don't know the name of the song but I can hum it and of course I know the product.

That is what makes a great advert.


null said...

instead of the review why not just link the ad ;)

OK, I think this is it (clicky)

And ps: yes, it is quite a nice ad, pretty famous too.

Car aint bad either..

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks for that link. The aimple answer to your question is because I am not that computer literate!


SpectralCentroid said...

Well, I guess you can judge an ad on two platforms. How much it can positively affect the consumer's purchase decision and the absolute creativity factor. However former carries more weight in commercial importance as that's basically the main goal of an ad. The latter might contribute to the former but not necessarily always.

Since we are talking about it, SL advertising industry is about to conduct its first ever (I think) award ceremony which is purely based on the creative aspect.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Definitely true about the 2 platforms, but I suppose ultimately the only real judge is the Company or person who commisioned the ad as they are the only parties who know whether their objectives have been achieved.