Wall’s Ad Isn’t Just a Summer Smash


The taste of happiness since 1922


It’s Summer! And even if the weather has been a little on the damp side, on TV the summer campaigns are rolling out and reminding us that this is the most cheerful season, especially for indulgent food and drink buys. Summer is to ice cream what Halloween and Christmas are to confectionery, the most favourable setting for ads that make people feel joy, drive sales and build your brand. There’s no excuse for wasting the opportunity.

But even with every environmental factor in their favour, not every brand makes a 5-Star ad, let alone lands the Test Your Ad “triple whammy” of exceptional scores in long-term Star Rating, short-term Spike Rating and Brand Fluency. And that is exactly what Wall’s have achieved with their latest 20-second spot, a playful, gleeful celebration of ice cream and summer which takes time on the way to showcase some of the century-old brand’s most iconic product lines: Cornetto, Feast and Solero.

Wall’s’ 5-Star ad has a simple set-up. An ice cream freezer comes to animated life and roams the streets handing out its wares to the people it meets, spreading a bit of summer happiness as it goes. At 20 seconds the ad isn’t too bothered about narrative or an emotional arc – it’s hitting the happiness high notes from the off and rightly assuming its high-energy vibe will be enough to do the job.

The ad ends with a call-out to the brand’s long history – it was founded in 1922 – but the retro feel of the commercial is a rather more recent vintage. The soundtrack is Katrina And The Waves’ 1985 classic “Walking On Sunshine”, and the animation style and graphics of the ad are a callback to the bold, chaotic, colourful graphic design of the 1980s.

While there definitely is a nostalgic pull to the song choice and the graphics, it would be wrong to see this as purely a nostalgia-driven ad. The people and setting are contemporary, and while cultural references in ads are very powerful, that’s not exactly how the Katrina And The Waves track is working here. Instead it’s an example of one of those songs which are perennially useful to advertisers – it’s got an instant, highly melodic hook, and lyrics that are upbeat and suit any context. It’s the perfect song for a summer ad, whatever the category.

We know from Orlando Wood’s work in Lemon and Look Out that melodic soundtracks work better at drawing the attention of the brain’s right hemisphere, and are one of the elements associated with increased long-term effectiveness. So here, “Walking On Sunshine” isn’t just working to remind audiences that it’s summer right now and they might fancy a Feast or Solero, it’s helping build longer-term positive brand associations for Wall’s. The result is that the ad does hit that “Triple Whammy” effect – it’s a short-term Summer winner which will have positive impact long after the nights draw in again.

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