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March 15, 2010 / Adam + Dan

Subtle branding makes good advertising

[tweetmeme source=”adamanddan” only_single=false] There are a variety of advertisements and digital campaigns that have really inspired us in the last year or so. And we believe they are so effective because of their subtle use of the brand within them.

Brands often think that the best advertisement for them is when they splatter their name all over the ad. Of course, that’s what they want to see. They think that if the ad is flooded with their brand name on TV none stop for 30 seconds, then it’s good for them. But it’s not. That’s just annoying. 4 words. We buy any car.

Let’s be honest, people hate adverts. If you create something that tells people the message in an interesting way, then they are more likely to want to watch it again.

We’ve chosen 3 great campaigns, which we use as inspiration.

This first advertisement is our most favourite campaign ever. Advertising wind energy, the character Mr W tells his story about finally being accepted and given a purpose in life. The thing we like most about this is that there is no mention of the brand, or what they are advertising until the very end. But the execution is so strong, there is no need to. The audience is drawn in and wants to watch it. It’s pure genius.

How perfect is that? The story is so powerful you’re intrigued to find out more and the personification of the wind is a really nice twist at the end.

This next digital campaign you will all have heard of, but follows the same guide. They put a phone box in the middle of nowhere and got people to phone up. You could phone on your landline if you wanted, but it would be cheaper to phone from a Skype phone. And yes, the campaign was advertising Skype, but that’s all they said about the brand in the whole campaign. Yet it got so much coverage and publicity because of it’s exciting concept, when it was finally revealed it was all about Skype, it worked wonders for the brand.

It’s the perfect way to advertise a brand. *Trick* the consumer into thinking they are just taking part in something cool and viral, but really they are part of a big brand stunt.

It’s brands that take those chances that are normally the brands that end up on top. We’re common believers that if the ad/campaign is interesting enough, people will want to find out what it’s advertising.

Our final one is a Tropicana advert called Arctic Sun. Again, the product is featured very little in the campaign until the very end. It’s not until about 45 seconds in that a Tropicana drink is actually shown. Many brands would hate that! But the ad is so intriguing that you want to find out what it is advertising and when you finally do, you realise how much of a clever concept it is. If you can impress the consumer then they are more likely to want to research the campaign or watch it again on the Internet sending it viral.

Again, such an interesting concept and one that’s inspired us a lot.

We welcome feedback on this post of course, as this is only our opinion. But we truly believe that subtle branding within a campaign makes good advertising. The less you use the brand to advertise the concept the more a consumer will pay attention as it’s seen as less intrusive on their lives. And it’s the clever ones that people remember.

“We currently spend 9.5 hours a day on average consuming media. We can’t spend any more time without giving up sleep.
Advertising and marketing has to find interesting ways to work within our limited attention spans.”

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  1. John Delacruz / Mar 15 2010 11:34

    Brilliant selection as ever. Great choice, great examples of communication.

  2. shib / Mar 15 2010 11:49

    cool post.

    The weetabix one is another good one!

  3. Adam + Dan / Mar 15 2010 11:53

    Cheers guys. Have you got the link to post Shib? Any others also welcome!

  4. / Mar 15 2010 14:42

    Hi guys. Firstly, really well exectuted post. Secondly, thanks for the advice – although I’m not sure you thought we’d be reading it directly! I’m sure we will be taking some onboard in our next ad campaign. If you have any suggestions or further thoughts, please get in touch. The opinions of viewers like yourselves who voice them in such a manner are incredibly insightful and useful to us. With kind regards, the team.

  5. John Delacruz / Mar 15 2010 15:50

    it’s good to see wbac noting online “conversations” that make references to their campaign (good and bad) …. problem for that market sector is that VCCP broke through the noise with Aleksandr, so where do they take their brand. Go Compare try to do a “me too” but fail big time with a weak brand story. WBAC, try to beat you into submission through intense repetition, again no engagement.

  6. AP / Mar 25 2010 12:34

    i wrote a post a while back about WBAC and they responded there too.

    They maybe annoying adverts, but nice in the digital realm.

    I saw the “wind” ad while at the D&AD judging and was blown away (pardon the pun) by the fact i had no idea what it was about until the end then it all made complete sense.

  7. Ciaran O'Reilly / Mar 25 2010 17:01

    Good post. Of the 3 examples shown, I would agree that the first two are superb examples and have been acknolwedged as such by many more respected observers than I.

    What I think connects Wind and Skype is that both executions/campaigns relate to a brand truth/fundamental. THe Wind Energy ad is all about the effect of Wind, the Skype campaign was entirely related to phones. It is this that allows the subtelty of the message burn stronger in the absence of screaming brand calls. Not so sure on the Tropicana one tho – it always felt like Sony Bravia Lite to me!

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