05 February 2011

The Art of Choosing the Right Conversation

A great ad is a conversation. And the test of a great Copywriter, and a great Creative Director, is to know which conversation to have.  Which line-of-thinking will best engage the viewer.  

Suppose you're charged with promoting the idea of road safety.  The default position in such ads has become shock.  Graphic footage.  Alarming statistics.  A foreboding "it could happen to you."

This spot- "Embrace Life"- honoured last summer at the Cannes Advertising Festival, didn't allow its tires to catch in the trolly tracks* of conventional ad creative. 

Statistics and graphic footage are, to most people, abstract- literally disassociated from their life and experience.  They must translate the information into something more personal, and meaningful.  ("Hmmm... this statistic about seatbelt usage suggests that someone in my family could be in danger.")

This traditional, empirical creative approach is flawed, but understandable.   Because marketing is an industry prone to operate on tangibles.   Facts.  Figures.  Logic.   An ad becomes an argument.

Yet it's emotion that so often drives the most effective advertising.

This spot by-passes the translation from tangible to personal, and goes right to the emotional benefit of road safety; a benefit conveyed with breathtaking clarity in the expressions on these actors' faces.

It's the viewer's visceral emotional connection to this family facing a threat that makes this spot intangible, powerful, and effective.

Chalk one up for the right brain.

* pun intended