The world is inundated with ad campaigns. From film, PR stunts, photography or even social media, we are exposed to it now more than ever, often without realising. When we are exposed to so many it takes a lot for the real gems to shine through and make an impact.
Here are eight of our favourite ads that showcase brands that have focused directly on the story, not the sale.
Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches is an advert that has been around now for a good few years. Following a story is right at the heart of this campaign and doesn't necessarily mention the brand until the very end of the content…something that we feel is a powerful structure when promoting an already reputable brand. People are sold on stories, and with over 68 million views on YouTube alone, we can certainly see that it’s a powerful one.
Crimestoppers very much opened our eyes when we saw this campaign back in 2013, mainly because of the way it’s structured. They wanted to connect with an audience, and by thinking in a very different way, did so by giving the viewer options to decide how the story unfolds. Do you save someone, or let them go? As you can imagine, people continued to explore the different options and alternative endings, meaning that they spent more than double the time with this campaign than they would on a normal advert. Clever.
Similar to Dove, Always love to tell a story and don’t necessarily focus directly on a sale. They are all about visions, values and, in their case, showing how women are just as good as men. They combine empowering messages with realistic – as opposed to idealistic - portrayals of their target audience, thus making the content very relatable. The use of behind the scenes imagery also adds to the realism of this ad and aims to take us away from the fake, very staged content we are so used to seeing. Their #LikeAGirl title is used to make you sit up and listen…and it certainly does. Going on to win an Emmy and a Cannes Grand Prix Award, this ad will always be up there as one of our favourites.
One word… MADNESS! PR Stunts are always a favourite when trying to, quite literally, create some drama and get people shouting about your brand. For those of you that may not realise, this is for a Belgium TV channel called TNT and is nothing to do with TNT courier service. With over 50 million YouTube views, it’s one that screams popularity and it would be very difficult to see why not. Although this campaign is dramatic, that is in fact, the entire message they want to convey. After all, what would a drama channel be if they didn’t go crazy and actually create some real drama of their own?
Funky, fun…and a little bit weird. We always remember the first time this advertisement hit our screens almost 10 years ago now. It was super popular after its release and was something that sent Evian roller-skating their way into the Guinness Book of Records for the most viewed online ad of all time. Quite an achievement for such a young cast. But enough of the babies; the ‘Live Young’ campaign conveyed a powerful message about the water giant and “played the role of a positive spur in a depressed market” according to the man behind the ad, Rémi Babinet.
This is a classic. Barclaycard’s waterslide advertisement has always stuck with us, combining flawless visuals with high-end CGI…and a man in a pair of tightly fitted swimming trunks. The reason we love this ad isn’t just because of the content itself. We admire the team for the brilliant, quick-thinking campaign that they built around it. Due to the ad’s instant popularity, they created ‘Waterslide Extreme’, an iPhone app which allowed players/ to slide their way through the city in a similar fashion to their TV ad. The result? The number one free iPhone application in 57 countries. Genius.
This is less of an ad, and more of a genius game, campaign and overall huge success. One so huge in fact that it will go down in history as one of the most popular marketing strategies ever. We wanted to share a summary video with you rather than the actual ad itself because the results it received were staggering. If you want to ﬁnd the actual ads, there are still bits out there on YouTube that can be viewed, but they are now a little scattered due to the age of this campaign. In 100 days, the campaign received over 35.5 million views, hit 217 countries and had over 380,000 shares on Facebook and Twitter. With a single campaign, Tipp-Ex became one of the top 10 branded channels on YouTube - and that is why we love the power of visual advertising.
Last, but certainly not least is the monumental campaign that has been run by BMW Films over the past decade. The example below is just one in a series of many ads that have been used to promote the new cars from luxury vehicle manufacturer, BMW. The content is less about advertisements and more about short films all around 10 minutes long. Featuring ‘A-List’ celebrities in the cast such as Clive Owen, and using world-famous Hollywood directors, is certainly a way to get your message across. So, what is that message? It’s all about showcasing the performance of various different BMWs and shifting people’s mentality away from the physical sale and again more towards the story. It screams BMW values and vision throughout and focuses on subliminally selling people into a product because, well, it’s BMW and these ads are COOL!
For us, the key is to convey important marketing messages in a way that doesn't make the decision feel forced towards an audience. Sell people into a product and relate to them through the use of storytelling. By doing so, you are not intimidating people but are making more of a personal connection and at the same time, delighting people, not boring them. That is then when we feel you will start to see some serious results.