A friend of mine just sent me a link to TVC that is going viral. The spot is not new, but it has recently been discovered and received a lot of attention, especially from the Marketing and Advertising community.
The TVC is simply a repetition of some sales sentences, similar to the same sales shouts you often hear in the wet market. What makes it viral are due to 2 factors: catchy jingles (of meaningless content) and unexpected (creepy) visuals of actors in foolish costumes dancing crazily all over the place. It’s interesting to look at the comments, most of which conclude at the same point: “It’s fucking crazy, but it works. It catches attention and it is easy to remember.” This leads them to conclude further: “The formula of successful TVC= catchy jingles + unexpected iconic visuals”.
On the execution level, I am not against the final conclusion they make. But if that is the strategic standpoint of planning or judging a TVC, it is seriously wrong, both professionally and ethically.
Firstly, such conclusion stands on the perspective that consumers are morons, who prefer nonsense brainless stuff. Just putting some shiny unexpected baits, and those morons will bite. I strongly believe that no great work can be produced from that “superior” mindset. As David Ogilvy once reminded his employees: “The consumer isn’t a moron. She’s your wife.”
Secondly, on the brand point of view, people have neglected one critical role of advertising: building brand. Advertising does not just build awareness, but also functional and emotional association that will contribute to building brand image. Ads that are made only for the sake of triggering attention and memory is short-lived and wasteful in a long run. How do you see your brand evolve over 3-5 years? If the brand’s ads just base on execution-level thinking, it cannot help progress the brand to become resonate with the consumers.
Finally, on the ethical perspective, advertising, I believe, holds much importance in building one society’s culture. Like newspapers, advertising is a form of communication that shape people’s thinking. Ads people must realize their responsibility and how much impact they have on the society. A piece of brainless ads that is aired contributes to making our society a bit more brainless.
Think good ads. Do good ads. For a better society.