Ad Of The Week
My Favourite Things
Ads for consumer devices – phones, TVs, laptops, and so on – are tough to get right. We rely on our devices for media, entertainment, communication, navigation, shopping, and in the age of Covid-19 they’re more than ever a portal to the wider world too. Choosing a new device should be an extremely important moment.
But at the same time, these devices are so much part of us that they’re almost invisible as objects. It’s very hard, if you’re making a film, to say much that’s new about phones.
So the visual grammar of phone and laptop ads has become, honestly, a bit corny. Lots of abstract, dancing devices, smiling people taking photographs, beautifully deep black screens bursting into colour….all while we’re gently reminded of the hot new features coming our way on the latest model. We’ve all seen those ads.
So this feels like a sector ripe for a new, more human, more right-brained approach. But there’s a catch. These ads do, in fact, make people feel pretty good. Viewers like to be reminded that their smartphone is full of wonders, that it’s not just an addictive lump of battery-hungry glass and plastic.
LG’s latest ad for the LG VELVET is a good example. It scored a very respectable 4.6 – at the top end of the category. It uses a delicate version of “My Favourite Things” to good effect and ticks off all the visual elements I’ve outlined above. And people like it.
So should phone ads try and change? In the short term, perhaps not. But in the long-term, there are two reasons why they probably should try and take a different approach.
The first is to consider the fate of other categories with very homogenous approaches. Long ago, car ads with aerial shots of driving on a mountain road might have seemed fresh and exciting. Now they’re so predictable that a computer can write one that scores better than two-thirds of the category. Because car ads are so generic, their average scores are low and brands find it harder to look distinctive and win Fluency.
The second, more positive, reason is that it is possible to make great, emotional, 5-Star tech ads which sidestep the category cliches. Samsung’s classic “Ostrich” – a 5-Star winner advertising virtual reality gear – proves it.
So credit to LG for creating work within the category codes which viewers genuinely like. But there’s a lot of room for adventurous brands to step outside those codes in future.