Did you know that we have 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day? With so many people preoccupied with their daily lives, it’s no wonder that Ogilvy found that 90% of advertising goes unnoticed.

To get noticed, brands need to be distinctive because if you haven’t got the attention of your audience, you’re talking to yourself. This made me think about the ads that have stayed with me over the years and I’ve shortlisted what I believe are 5 truly distinctive ads. When developing your new marketing campaign, dream big, and ask yourself if people will talk about it for years to come. The author of ‘The power of positive thinking’ Norman Vincent Peale said that you should shoot for the moon because you’ll land among the stars even if you miss.

Save the Children – Most Shocking Second A Day

The Syrian civil war has been named the worst humanitarian crisis of the 21st century. Since it began in 2001, it has forced over 60 million people to flee their homes. The ‘most shocking second a day’ film asked viewers to consider their life if London were Syria. The film was created by Don’t Panic London for Save the Children to share on their social channels as part of their #SaveChildRefugees campaign. The film resulted in over 150 pieces of media coverage, and donations to the campaign increased by 93%.

“Media coverage of the refugee crisis was framed with hostility, causing the British public to become apathetic to the plight of so many. With an ocean between us, it was easily ignored and difficult to relate to. We needed to reframe the narrative and turn public apathy to sympathy through increased understanding.

Using the popular and relevant second-a-day format to engage parents, we brought the Syrian crisis home in a painfully familiar way. The online campaign struck a chord internationally, with the launch piece becoming the most successful charity film of its time.” Don’t Panic London

Guinness – noitulovE

It takes around 119.5 seconds to pour a pint of Guinness, whereas the average pint only takes 10 seconds to pour. For many, the wait was too long. Guinness used this insight to develop stories showing that ‘Good things come to those who wait’ to challenge the negative perception that a Guinness pint took too long to pour. The campaign ran from 1998-2007. During this time they created the ‘Surfer’ ad which is widely recognised as one of the most iconic ads ever made. My personal favourite ad from this series was their noitulovE ad, which, if you hadn’t realised is evolution backwards (I hadn’t). Set against the backdrop of the Rhythm of Life by Sammy Davis Jr, it shows 500 millions of years worth of evolution, in reverse, in sixty seconds. Ambitious, mad, brilliantly executed. I love everything about it. The ad helped Guinness become the market leader at a time when the beer market in the UK experienced a decline in revenue.

Old Spice – The Man, Your Man, Could Smell Like

‘The Man, Your Man, Could Smell Like’ is my favorite ad of all time. Established in 1937, over its 70-year history, Old Spice had lost touch with consumers and, as a result, had become old fashioned and irrelevant. In 2006 Wieden & Kennedy were tasked with changing its fortunes. This ad is another great example of how strong audience insight can lead to a great concept. Wieden & Kennedy found that women were responsible for 60% of body wash purchases. They wanted to create something fun and lighthearted that would provoke conversations between couples. The Man, Your Man, Could Smell Like, showed Isaiah Mustafa, wrapped in a towel directly addressing viewers,

“Hello ladies, look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me. Sadly, he isn’t me. But if he stopped using ladies scented body wash and switched to Old Spice, he could smell like he’s me”

Isaiah Mustafa’s delivery is faultless, and all the more impressive when you consider that the ad was filmed in one continuous take with very little CGI.

The ad has had almost 58 million views on YouTube and Advertising Age has named it as one of the top campaigns of the 21st century, it also helped Old Spice to become the leading body wash brand for men in America.

Skoda – Cake

In the late 80s and early 90s, the Czech car manufacturer Skoda was the butt of many jokes in the UK. Brand perception was poor and research had shown that 60% of people wouldn’t consider buying a Skoda.

In 1991 Skoda began working with the VW Group and launched the Octavia and Fabia and they invested heavily in marketing to change people’s perceptions of the brand. Car adverts are traditionally formulaic, consisting of panoramic shots of the new car in question, framed against whatever backdrop is associated with said brand; land rover = mountains, Mercadees = metropolitan city, you get the picture. Skoda’s motto is ‘Driven By Something Different’, so it comes as no surprise that they took an unconventional approach to market the new Fabia in 2007.

They enlisted the help of eight bakers and over the course of ten days, they recreated the Fabia completely out of cake and sweets to promote that it was “full of lovely stuff,” The ad is a feat of edible engineering genius and won critical acclaim in the industry. YouGov polls also showed that Sokda’s brand perception had improved substantially in the UK.

Malteasers – New boyfriend

Mars makes some of the most loved chocolate in the UK. Galaxy, Snickers, Twix, Malteasers. It also makes the questionable Bounty bar. Even though the Snickers “You’re not you when your hungry” ad is my favourites, it was Malteasers “New Boyfriend” ad that I felt was truly distinctive. It showed three young women gossiping about their love life while eating Maltesers. This doesn’t sound revolutionary, but the women were disabled and joked about their disability. In 2016 this was groundbreaking. The ad was part of a series of three spots that aired on Channel 4 during the 2016 Paralympics. Mars said that the ad’s aim was to encourage people to “look on the light side of d..isability.”

It provoked a range of conversations around disabled people’s portrayal in mainstream media and even provoked 151 complaints (none of which the ASA upheld). Michele Oliver, the vice-president of marketing at Mars UK, spoke with Campaign Live the following year to explain that the campaign was their’ most successful’ in a decade.

YouTube views for the launch ad, “New boyfriend”, broke the two million barrier within the first 24 hours, more than double Maltesers’ one million target, while brand affinity was 20% – also double the brand’s target of 20% – Michele Oliver

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Share This