Those who like to follow convention, turn away now. To quote Kate the Great, the queen of mavericks; “If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun”. So, for those with a preference for the unorthodox, please find a collection of ads that decided to bypass the more traditional Christmas sentiments. Whilst all communicate positive brand messages at a rational level, not everyone may be delivering the right message to our subconscious. I leave that to you to decide!
Let’s start with three ads that have taken the merry but dark subject of death as their point of difference. Two are German and are going for tears, whilst the one from the UK is just out to shock, but for a reason!
The first, for German supermarket Edeka, which has had close to 38 million YouTube views and set Twitter alight, features an elderly man who fakes his own death to get his children to visit him at Christmas.
The ad for OTTO, Germany’s largest fashion online retailer, features a dead grandfather granting a long lost wish.
The UK 2015 Christmas Government Drink Drive campaign “In the doghouse #butalive” illustrates what could happen if you have a couple of drinks before driving.
The next two share the common theme of silence representing a true “break”. The first features American actor Nick Offerman and the Single Malt Scotch Whisky Lagavulin™ in 45 minutes of total silence except for a crackling log fire. This has had over 2 million YouTube views!
The second, for KitKat in the UK, features a blank screen for 30 seconds with just a voice over!
The sixth ad from the US clothing retailer Old Navy introduces the concept of social pariahs and being banished to the kids table at Christmas.
The seventh features another sad old man, but it’s the brand in this case that would not necessarily be the first one to spring to mind in this context!
The last one is by Canadian ad agency Zulu Alpha Kilo, in support of Colon Cancer Canada, and features a “cheeky” rendition of Jingle Bells by the world-renowned Spanish percussionist and YouTube star Jorge Perez. In the spirit of equality, both male and female butts were used.
What can we learn from these ads, apart from that different cultures clearly have different senses of humour?
- Rules are meant to be broken, but the line between being deliberately shocking or gimmicky and being credible is thin.
- All capture attention and memorability in a way that resonates with the values of their brand or service.
- All provide the potential for a more personal or emotive experience hence creating a more lasting impression.