The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

If You’ve Forgotten What Love Feels Like …
April 29, 2008, 7:02 am
Filed under: Comment

… then you need to have a look at this …

How gorgeous is that eh?

I tell you, if the little boy’s face didn’t melt your heart when he found out who his girlfriend was, then you’re dead or someone who has gone through too many divorces.



Anyway, it’s so nice to see an ad that has real emotion in it … of course that’s because the film is a slice of real life, not the usual contrived advertising shite … but it shows that in the battle for the consumers heart, mind and wallet – human emotion can be far more powerful than any Hollywood blockbuster style of commercial.

As Lee Hill said, agencies shouldn’t just focus on eye candy they should be looking for heart candy as well.

With that in mind, here’s one of my favourite ads EVER …

Yes it’s for Leukaemia and is ‘staged’ rather than real life … but it’s just so beautifully done that it gets to me everytime I watch it, and let me tell you I’ve watched it a hell of a lot of times over the years.

OK so as we all know I’m a sucker for triumph over adversity [though tragically the little boy in the ad died afterwards] however what I like about it – and why I think it works so well – is because of what Andy calls, ‘pace and grace’.

You see the current trend in advertising seems to be about creating either ‘shock & awe’ or ‘sponsored joke’ however with this commercial you get a story – one with a beginning, middle and end – so the end result is that you’ve felt you’ve gone on a journey and ended up sharing something important rather than just the feeling a brand is trying to get more money out of you.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it’s still just a television ad … but when 60 seconds of film can create that amount of emotion [both within the commercial and from the viewer] you realise television advertising isn’t dead, just the art of creating it is.

[And I know some people will say things like SONY Foam [the best of all Fallon’s SONY ads], Schweppes Balloon or even SONY HD are still keeping the ‘craft’ of television advertising alive … but I don’t necessarily agree because whilst I think they’re great ads [I would say that though wouldn’t I!] they still seem to be more of a visual idea stretched over 30-60 seconds rather than a story that you end up learning/taking something away from. Actually that isn’t quite what I meant, but it’s late – I’m tired – so I’m hoping you know what I mean or someone can tell me what I actually was trying to say. Ta]

21 Comments so far
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I don’t know what the ad with the little boy is for but it is wonderful and his reaction is so beautiful I watched it again and again and again.
I don’t think storytelling is dead in advertising, it’s just different but I do agree that these ads pull you in and keep you enthralled in ways that the Sony and Schweppes don’t.
An uplifting post today Robert, I’m going to watch both those spots again and try not to cry happy tears. (i’m a chick. i’m allowed πŸ™‚ )
Jemma x

Comment by Jemma King

excellent post Rob. I’m a big believer in story telling because at the end of the day, whilst we keep moments of “shock and awe” for ourselves, stories are what get passed on and down to others, and that really is what makes them stronger.

those two vids were a great way to start my day. thanks.

Comment by Age

If all ads were like these Robert, maybe I’d pay more attention to them. They’re absolutely wonderful and a joy to watch.

I am in complete agreement with Lee’s comment, we are surrounded by image and hype all screaming for attention and yet a simple story well told can make more of an impression than all those other things put together.

I remember you once said that if you want people to listen to you, you should start by saying “Once upon a time” and I think more ads should follow that advice because in the short time those advertisements were on, my emotions got more attention than I get on a normal weekday and that is a good thing for me and the client who paid for them.

I hope you understand what I am saying, I don’t know all the technical language but I’m agreeing with you and after the cake “episode” that’s a good thing for you.

Love to you and Jill

Comment by Mary Bryant

Phenomenal post Robert and just like everyone else I think these ads are brilliant.

I really love the “pace and grace” phrase, it’s so true and you can really see how those elements have added to the commercials impact plus they’ve been brilliantly cast and directed.

A positive post, you’re going soft πŸ™‚

Comment by Pete

Thank you Robert, you have articulated what I meant by “heart candy” in a manner that I could never have hoped to achieve but then that is what we pay you for isn’t it.

I am in agreement with everyone else who has commented here, this is a wonderful post with wonderful examples of emotionally driven communication and I hope some creative chappies pop in so they can see some great work and understand not all clients or planners talk rubbish when discussing creativity.

Comment by Lee Hill

Everyone has pretty much said everything I would want to say but who is the brand behind the little kid spot? I’m just trying to work out its relevance to the category or whether it’s another one of those Cadbury/Fallon type things that I know you love πŸ™‚

Comment by Bazza

The school kids spot is by Petronas, Malaysia’s oil company – one in a series of community service spots done for Racial Harmony Day, basically saying that kids have no problem with mixing with different races. “The kids get it.”

Comment by fan

In other words that ad is a community service announcement for an event that an oil company sponsors.

Should I ask why they sponsor that an event or treat it as another case of TBWA “disruption” πŸ™‚

I do think the ad is charm personified but knowing the background makes me realise just how great that Leukaemia spot is because they have managed to achieve real relevance between the message and the organisation while delivering something emotional, beautiful and uplifting.

Thanks fan

Comment by Bazza

To be fair to Petronas Baz, they’ve been using this kind of advertising for their brand work too [the idea is probably linked to ‘helping bring people together’ or something] … infact Petronas has infiltrated the fabric of society to such a degree that despite being an Oil company, they are seen as a pillar and supporter of Malaysian culture.

[Think Virgin but without the ‘attitude’ but with the same desire to fight [and prove] how much they love their country and it’s people – which included bringing F1 to the country so that they would attract people from all around the World and be able to show them that they are good people when so many around the planet think any Muslim nation has to be bad]

Comment by Rob

“Who is the brand?” – in one question Bazza sums up all that is wrong with the industry. They’re not people they’re big companies and nobody is going to buy that they’re warm, fuzzy individuals. “What” not “Who” Agggggggggh.

Now I’ve got that off my chest, I of course agree with what everyone else says and also Bazza’s specific questioning of what the first spot is actually about.

As fan explains, it’s actually related to something that is inherently a “heart candy” issue Iso ‘m not going to go overboard about it. It’s cute, it’s a documentary out-take but overall it’s disingenuous to me. Rob’s response that “the idea is probably linked to ‘helping bring people together’ or something” is a nice example of damning with faint praise though I’m not sure he meant it that way.

The second one is terrific because it follows the Hill doctrine. The heart candy is directly related to the narrative mission of the campaign and is not tagged on in the hope of gaining emotional goodwill for the sponsor.

Comment by John

So basically apart from a few slurs regarding both Bazza and my comments [which in both cases probably didn’t come out as intended] you are basically agreeing with both mine and Baz’s comments – ie: the first spot is a lovely film about human emotion but not really an ad with commercial implications whereas the other is a great example of true emotional communication whose intention is to illicit a specific response.

Or am I talking bollocks again?

Comment by Robert

Yes and yes.

Comment by John

I am the puppet master πŸ˜‰

Comment by Rob

I’ve been thinking the same thing and kept saying that it shouldn’t all be just a good joke or some solid information or nice aesthetics. Emotion isn’t about people from cancer research stopping you on the street to ask you about your day as noble as it might sound.

We don’t talk about love, we only want to get drunk

Comment by Andrea

Ironically Andrea, getting a woman drunk is how Andy gets them to fall in love with him, ha!

You’re right – people think emotions like love, happiness, optimism are all twee, and in the way adland handles them, they are – but when done with grace, pace and true understanding, they can be amazing and that’s why I like the cancer spot so much – it tackles a terrible issue without ever shying away from it and yet still leaves you with a feeling of hope, happiness and beauty.

That is emotional advertising – communication with a purpose, not mindless fluff that could be for anyone or anything.

Comment by Rob

pace. now that’s a word you dont hear very often anymore.

Comment by Marcus

telex is another.

Comment by John

Well to actually leave a serious comment even though it’s tempting to be a childish twat right now, I’ve had two people die of some form of cancer; grandfather of leukaemia last year and mum of pancreatic cancer in March this year so anything remotely related kinda moves me in ways I don’t want to be moved if it makes any sense.

If it’s going to be emotional, it’s supposed to be emotional ‘yes it’s shit but be strong’ not ‘yes it’s shit let’s all cry’ like I’ve seen others. Emotional yes, mushy no.

Comment by Andrea

As a bit of film the first spot is fucking great but not sure what it does as an ad even with “fans” explanation but the other clip is brilliant even though I’ve had it forced into my head so many times I swear I went to school with all those bald headed bastards.

Is that insensitive to say that?

I say it with love.

And surely the definition of love is swallow rather than spit?

Sorry, trying to live up to my boss but that has left a nasty taste in my mouth. Boom tish

Comment by Billy Whizz

Given my wife liked this post so much she felt compelled to write the very first comment, may I suggest to Billy that he stops lowering the tone of this shockingly good post because he’s in as much trouble with Mary as I am and I cannot be held responsible for her actions should she feel his comments are provoking.

Comment by George

I am guessing the comments stopped because both Billy and George are now dead – and it doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to guess at whose hands their fate was sealed by.

I am making Mary sound tough – and she is – but not in a battleaxe way – she’s a top, smart, lovely, funny, gorgeous wife/mother/woman and personally I think the boys got all that was coming to them.

I’m your #1 fan Mary. Can I please be allowed to live? πŸ™‚

Comment by Rob

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