Ad Of The Month
Summer is on its way, and with it campfire gatherings and backyard cookouts. In this unassuming but effective 15-second ad, Hershey’s places itself right in the middle of the fun and nostalgia. At 5.1-Stars, it’s a strong brand-building ad even for the chocolate and candy categories. Its short-term effectiveness is great too – a Spike Rating of 1.47 is also at the top end of the category.
What does the ad do right? A surprising number of things, given its brevity. It’s a mini-masterclass in how to blend winning and effective elements to make a rock-solid piece of creative work.
Let’s start with what the ad doesn’t do. This is very much a post-Covid ad – it’s not a huge family gathering, it’s intimate time outdoors with loved ones, and the whole thing has been filmed with a small location and cast. But the ad doesn’t explicitly position itself like this – there’s no actual mention of the pandemic to bring the mood down or waste valuable time. Instead the ad uses these limitations as assets – creating an air of low-key intimacy as it celebrates the return of good times.
Now for the ingredients in this advertising s’more. One is the soundtrack – a golden oldie from grandparents’ times, but one familiar enough to create plenty of familiarity among younger viewers too. Music is a powerful mood-setter in ads, after the story it’s maybe the single most powerful driver of emotion. Get the soundtrack right – as Hershey’s do here – and you set a tone of happiness and nostalgia from the start.
Next we have the storyline. What storyline? you might ask, as the ad is only 15 seconds long. But while there’s not any kind of plot, there is a narrative progression and characters to follow – things which draw the attention of our right-brain and make ads more emotional and effective. The narrative is not a story but a very simple, familiar ritual – toasting marshmallows and making s’mores.
Then there’s emotion. The product is joyful, the characters are happy, and the action has the pleasure of familiarity. So while there’s no surprise at all, we do see ever rising happiness in the ad as it progresses. That makes it more impactful than the steady level of happiness a non-narrative ad usually achieves.
Soundtrack, story, and emotional content all work together to create an extremely satisfying ad. What about brand? While Brand Fluency is only average for the category, the Hershey’s products are still front and centre right from the beginning of the ad. And this is more an ad designed to trigger an emotional hit and get people feeling good about Summer than it is designed to boost a particular range or product. In that, it does its job with wonderful efficiency, showing that 15-second ads can still hit 5-Star scores.