A Fifteen Second Masterclass From Hershey’s

A Fifteen Second Masterclass From Hershey’s


One of the most common questions we’re asked is – how can you tell an emotional story in 15 seconds? Given how often brands struggle to spark positive emotion in 30 seconds or even 60, it’s no surprise the shorter ad lengths are a challenge. Often you see brands take the path of least resistance, ending up with short ads that showcase a product and a simple message but don’t really move any creative needles.

Some brands, though, do manage to make great use of the 15 second format. This Hershey’s ad isn’t new, but it’s on screens regularly and it deserves the spotlight as simply a terrific example of short-form storytelling.

The ad is a lesson in economy and establishing a narrative in the minimum time. We see twin sisters, with a plate of chocolate between them. “Take a piece of chocolate if you’re the tallest”, says a narrator. Both girls grab a piece, giggling. “Take a piece of chocolate is you’re the best at eating your vegetables” – again, both girls reach for the plate.

At this point we’re only 8 seconds in and the ad has already established its scenario, its characters and a pattern of events, priming us to expect another question and the same reaction. But the third question is – “Take a piece of chocolate if you’re the best at sharing” and the girls both pause – then they give each other the piece.

It’s clever and cute, and beautifully compact. In under 15 seconds Hershey’s have shown you a game, let you grasp its rules, then shown those rules being unexpectedly broken. (And its product has been front and centre throughout, of course!). It’s told an entire story in the time it would take some ads just to warm up.

The results from Test Your Ad? A resounding 5.8-Star score, which is excellent even for one of the top brands in our database. Brand Fluency and short-term Spike are also sky-high – the ad succeeds on every level.

Not every ad can be as neat as this – Hershey’s are fortunate they have a very recognisable brand and one that lends itself to ads which can feature cute kids and simple, joyful, scenarios. But other brands in their category don’t make commercials as simple and effective as this. You won’t find many effectiveness lessons as short – or as sweet – as this one.