Posts Tagged ‘tv’

IKEA and Shakespeare: a cautionary tale

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Last night, I was whiling away the rest of my Bank Holiday Monday by watching Marvel Avengers Assemble for the 500th time when I caught this TV ad for IKEA.

It was pretty. Pretty sinister, that is.

People, and a super adorable dog, float around among the clouds in a visual metaphor for their deep, dream-filled and cosy sleeps in IKEA beds.

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It's dreamy and atmospheric, a vibe IKEA reinforces with a beautifully-intoned slice of Shakespeare, drawn from Act VI Scene 1 of The Tempest:

…We are such stuff
as dreams are made on; and our little life
is rounded with a sleep.

Lovely! Except, er, not so much. IKEA probably should have consulted Sparknotes or a nearby literature student before they made this quote the backing of their ad, because it's a lot darker than it sounds.

This quote isn't actually about sleep at all. It's about the transience of life, and that 'little sleep' he mentions? Yep – death.

So, with that in mind, the ad takes on a new and much more sinister edge. “Buy our beds,” says IKEA, “Because let's face it, you're only going to die anyway.”

Thanks, IKEA! And let this be a lesson to every other agency and marketing team – tread carefully with Shakespeare. The bard never quite means what you think.

Honda's ads – inspiring creative jealousy since 2004

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

I saw Honda’s newest TV ad for the first time the other day. I then saw it about five more times and each time, I loved it.

The concept promotes the way Honda innovates and pushes boundaries. Using speed reading, which cuts out the noise of the page by flashing individual words on a screen, it invites the viewer to push what they think are the limits of their abilities – and be amazed when they manage to ‘Keep Up’.

Honda’s ad campaigns are great. Always. It’s fact. Take Choir or Cog as examples, though there are plenty of brilliant ones to choose from.

I’ve loved Honda’s ads since before I even knew I’d work in advertising, when I saw the fantastically quirky Grrr ad – or as I always knew it, ‘Hate something, change something’. Unsurprisingly, it won a bunch of prestigious advertising awards after it was launched in 2004.

It’s only now I’ve read up about Grrr that my love (and jealousy) has intensified. The whole thing started with the song, which a team of copywriters wrote after being inspired by the concept of ‘positive hate’. What I’d give to write a song that catchy.

Ads like those by W+T for Honda inspire creatives like us to try new things and really tap into our imaginations.

It makes us want to push harder, ‘keep up’ – and take over.

An unmissable campaign… for a show I missed

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

For the past few weeks, I haven’t been able to make my morning commute to work without seeing something to do with Fortitude, Sky Atlantic’s most recent offering.

But with that said, the dramatic, actors-slowly-looking-up-into-the-camera digital signs, which have been assaulting me daily from three different angles on my walk into the office, were only the beginning (even though those alone actually ingrained the name of the show into my morning-fugged brain – an achievement which, in itself, is pretty impressive).

The launch campaign has been really wide-reaching, ranging from standard promo to brilliantly bizarre PR.

The print ads were were given a boost by actual Fortitude reps, hired for the sole purpose of handing out special edition copies of Metro on the morning of launch day. I couldn’t tell if the reps were dressed in huge, arctic puffer jackets because it’s freezing at the minute or because it was actually on brand, but either way – it worked.

There was the ice-themed ad break, in which Sky Atlantic broadcast only the chilliest selection of TV commercials during the first episode to create a truly icy atmosphere. There was a branded photobooth hosted at swanky London venus that gave viewers the chance to win a holiday to Lapland (if they shared their pictures with a relevant hashtag, of course).

And then, of course, there was the polar bear. The polar bear that bewildered commuters in a hilarious PR stunt on the London Underground. There’s really not much more for me to say about that. Except, I mean… a polar bear.

It's just genius. (Picture: David Parry/PA)

If I can involve animatronics in a campaign, I will consider my life’s work complete. (Picture: David Parry/PA)

So, was it a success? Yep, a staggering one. The show pulled in 700,000 viewers on its opening night – when the average for viewers in that time slot is 59,000.

The figures speak for themselves – as does the amount of press coverage. But while a polar bear ambling through the streets of London was probably ample for raising huge amounts of awareness, the full campaign created a spectacle that couldn’t be ignored.

The sheer weight of the push behind a campaign with so many creative elements screamed at the audience to pay attention; why would Sky Atlantic invest so much in marketing if it weren’t a big-budget, big-impact show? I mean, you don’t see this kind of fuss being made over Tumble, do you?

But as for whether the show’s any good, I couldn’t say. I don’t have Sky Atlantic.

Let’s hope that, after a launch campaign as good as this, it didn’t end up getting a frosty reception.