3 Things A Commercial Should Always Be

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Skype’s “The Born Friends Family Portrait” commercial has generated quite a buzz recently. It features two teen best friends – Sarah and Paige – with a unique story: they have been Skyping for 8 years, but have never ever met in person.

 

In the commercial, the two describe their unbreakable bond. The commercial comes to an emotional climax when the girls – one from Indiana, the other from New Zealand – finally meet in person for the first time, running into one another in tearful embrace.

 

Selected as Adweek’s “Ad of the Day” this past Tuesday, the article immediately caught my attention with the introduction. The article began by explaining all the reasons why this commercial shouldn’t work: “It’s more than three minutes long. It’s manipulative in the extreme.” I assumed the commercial was just another dramatic and staged reunion of two long lost friends, so I doubted whether I even wanted to watch it.

 

Thankfully, I did.

 

I got goosebumps. My eyes watered when Sarah and Paige met and—if my supervisor hadn’t been sitting next to me—I probably would have bawled.

 

What I hadn’t initially realized about the ad is that it tells the true story of two pregnant women who connected online when they discovered that both their daughters would be born with only one full arm. Sarah’s mother reached out to Paige’s mother, and the women supported each other through e-mail correspondence. The mothers eventually lost touch, but theirdaughters reconnected eight years ago online. Wanting to talk to someone who was dealing with the same experiences, Sarah and Paige became best friends overearly-morning and late-night Skype calls. Eight years later, the best friends finally met.

 

As an advertising student and enthusiast, I love this commercial. It does everything I believe a commercial should be:

  • It’s memorable. In this world where consumers are constantly exposed to advertising messages, commercials struggle to maintain consumers’ attentions long enough to be remembered. This Skype spot, however, tells a unique story about a friendship made possible thanks to its service. The narrative is engaging and clearly highlights Skype’s benefits. As a result, both the story and the brand are easily recalled.
  • It’s emotional. Sarah and Paige’s story is both heartfelt and true. The fact that Sarah and Paige reached out Skype with their story for the “Family Portrait Series” makes the commercial even more genuine. Through this emotional spot, Pereira & O’Dell does a great job in reminding us of what Skype does best: strengthening long-distance relationships.
  • It’s shareable. Nowadays, brands rely not only on media to spread their messages; they have to create advertising compelling enough for people to share it. This commercial generates a strong viewer reaction and encourages conversation: two key elements in creating spreadable content.

 

Have any commercials moved you lately?

 

Written by Creative intern Gabriela Cappellin, Communications Studies major and Advertising minor at Boston University (Class of 2014).

Halloween…Not Just Candy Season Anymore!

Halloween is upon us and you know what that means – candy, costumes, tricks, treats and advertising. Wait what? Yes, advertising. Many companies take advantage of the holiday by incorporating it into their sales pitches. From candy to candles, advertisers everywhere are using the Halloween theme to attract consumers.

While some companies come up with new slogans for the Halloween edition of their commercials, others stick to what works. Snickers for example stays with its “you’re not you when you’re hungry.”  This commercial staring the “horseless headsmen” and in the exclusive online edit, the “headless horse – man.”

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Another company sticking to a theme is At&t with the infamous “it’s not complicated” commercial. I personally love these commercials and dull humor that surrounds them. But the message is clear, to much candy will make you feel sick and At&t is the nation’s fastest and now most reliable 4G LTE network. 

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Taking the long route to get to the point is Chipotle in their two and half minute video. Chipotle is asking us to enjoy “the costumes, the decorations and the free candy” and go to Chipotle in costume after 4PM and get a $2 boorito. This commercial features all of the things kids do during Halloween that they shouldn’t, like t-ping houses and smashing pumpkins.

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My favorite Halloween commercial of the year goes to Crest and their new line of Halloween candy. Crest invites kids to try their veggie-flavored treats as an alternative to traditional candy. Their reactions to unconventional candy flavors including broccoli, asparagus, beats and tofu ghost-mellows were priceless. Needless to say, the kids hated it, so much in fact they get sick from it. Crest’s lets us know in the description that we don’t have to avoid real this Halloween candy so long as we “keep your teeth cavity-free with Crest toothpastes and Oral-B toothbrushes.” 

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The Yankee Candle Company joins in the Halloween fun with its newest iterations of the Boney Bunch collection. The Boney Bunch has been lending a spooky flair to our candle decor since 2008. This year, these figurines are “dying to meet you.” The piece on everyone’s wishlist? Bone White and the 7 Dwarfs, which unfortunately is no longer available. To add to this collection they also have tea light holders featuring a kitty, a boney dog, a train, a motorcycle and a car.

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Happy Halloween from all of us at 451 Marketing! How are you celebrating the spookiest season of the year?

 

*Written by consumer PR intern Jason Baker, psychology major at Anna Maria College Class of 2013.