Bring on the Dancing Beasties

Most ads on the London Underground don’t stick in the brain. A lot of them lean on the wholly valid insight that you’d probably rather be anywhere else than stuck in a big Victorian pipe waiting for transport. So you see plenty of holiday ads, booze ads, and a good few bed and mattress ads. Fair enough as a media strategy, but not much stands out.

So I was delighted to see this little fella on my way into work the other day. So delighted, I sent a pic of it to my wife on the spot. Well done Eve, I thought. A mattress ad, for sure, but no offer details, no clever wording, no product claims – just a likeable character and the confidence to use it.

Still, what I think doesn’t matter much, I’m just one jaded researcher with a thing for ungulates. What do the wider public think about the Eve Sloth? Fortunately, we can find out by testing it. There’s a TV ad airing at the moment, which is equally simple in its approach – the sloth has a boogie around the bedroom, and that’s all.

We fed it into the Ad Ratings machine, in which we show commercials to people, and use their emotional response to predict long-term effectiveness with a 1- to 5-Star Rating.

And the Eve Sloth is a hit – a very strong 4.1-Star Rating for the TVC. For a direct-to-consumer household goods brand, that’s very good work with excellent brand-building potential. It’s no wonder the Sloth is being used across media.

What is it that makes the commercial work so well? There’s a bit of metaphor in the mix – Eve mattresses are so comfy they can lively up a sloth – and the tiniest nod to retro hip sensibility with the selection of a Moloko song for the soundtrack (why yes, the students of 20 years ago probably are in need of some shut-eye). But basically it works because people like to see dancing puppets and this one is adorable. It’s no more complex than that.

There’s been something of a micro-trend for FX-generated creatures and animated objects in TV ads lately, and they do indeed test well. The Halifax offered us a disco-dancing slinky spring (3-Stars) and Lotus Biscoff scored a 5-Star ad with some bopping coffee cups. Purists may bemoan the lack of insight, brand truths or indeed purpose behind some of these wrigglesome devices but in a world of mistrusted and forgotten campaigns it’s good to have at least some ads which work because, dammit, people like them.

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