5 Powerful Television Ads (and what makes them effective) – Week 3

How would you convey your message to an audience if you wanted it to stick with them after you finish speaking? There are a variety of different answers to this question, and all of them are methods of advertising. You could use humor, you could use shock. Or you could use a deep emotion that stirs your audience up to take action. Again, they’re all effective tactics – what matters is that you correctly match the tactic to your product or service offering. In this week’s article, we’ll take a look at the advertisements from companies who chose to go deep and emotional in their ad spots – and then we’ll break down each ad and discover why it is effective. Please leave any feedback that you have in the comments, and without further ado: 5 Powerful Television Ads.


1. Shockwave #2

ABOUT: Being in an automobile crash is something usually doesn’t cross our minds until it is too late. But in this advertisement, the narrator gives us a future glimpse into a crash and all of the repercussions that it will have on the lives involved. The Road Circulation Security Delegation is responsible for this ad, and the message that they convey is incredibly powerful.

OBJECTIVE: If a driver knew that a wreck was about to happen, they would no doubt put away all distractions and focus on the road in order to avoid such a fate. That is the point of this ad: you never know when a crash will happen, so don’t be distracted because the loss that occurs during such an event extends through countless lives of family, friends, and even strangers.

TARGET MARKET: Since most distracted drivers are under the age of 20, it seems that the target of this ad is this group of people. Many times people get caught up in the moment and never pause to think what horrible things their actions could cause if just one tiny thing went wrong. The ad has clear, slow-motion imagery that portrays the aftermath of such a tragedy to this group of individuals.

CALL TO ACTION: The ad ends with the grim tag line of “Road safety: all affected, all concerned, all responsible.” This is a call to action for people to be more careful while driving. It isn’t just the responsibility of some – all are responsible. And it doesn’t just affect the two people driving those vehicles: many more lives will be impacted.

VALUE PROPOSITION: There is no product or service being offered in this advertisement: only a message of safety and precaution. But if there were still a value proposition, it would be the value of your life and those around you. Driving while distracted can take everything in just one instant.


2. Astronaut #2

ABOUT: This advertisement from NSPCC tells the gripping story of a young boy who suffered abuse in his home by his mothers boyfriend. The NSPCC was able to help provide safety and rehabilitation for both the mother and son, and now the boy, Alfie, is able to be a child again. Free to dream, he becomes an astronaut thanks to the help of this organization and it’s contributors.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this advertisement seems to be two fold. First, it makes a great case for the awareness of domestic abuse and child neglect. Second, it serves as an avenue for the NSPCC to gather donations to fund their mission of helping these victims of abuse.

TARGET MARKET: Perhaps some of the people who watched this ad were at one point victims of domestic abuse at one point or another. Or perhaps the viewer has never experienced abuse first hand but has a heart of empathy for those impacted by it. Either way, any person that can be moved to show kindness for a victim os the person who is targeted in this advertisement.

CALL TO ACTION: At the end of the advertisement, the announcer calls people to become involved in the organization by donating with the words “Your donation can take a child anywhere.” Words on the screen then prompt you to text “Alfie” to a phone number in order to give 3 euros to the NSPCC.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Knowing that a child or parent is getting relief from domestic abuse is the value proposition for this advertisement. It’s the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your donation helped change a life for the better.


3. Unlikely Best Friends – Chance

ABOUT: How do you advertise a tissue? A Kleanex? You could go on about how your brand’s tissue is thicker, smoother, cheaper, or higher quality than the other brand – but in reality, who cares that much? When you have a product like a Kleanex, you have to go beyond simply advertising your product since everyone knows what your product is. And that is exactly what the makers of Kleanex did. In this advertisement, the creators tell a heartwarming story of a wheelchair bound man who meets a wheelchair bound dog – and it might just make you need a Kleanex of your own.

OBJECTIVE: By telling the story of two people who have overcome their hardships in life, the company is making people feel good about their brand. This brand feeling might, as a result, be enough to make people choose their products over the competition when shopping since most tissues are nearly the same. In other words, having an emotional story helps create a competitive advantage in an industry where such a thing is incredibly difficult to have.

TARGET MARKET: The target market for people who need Kleanex products is very wide and broad. From people who suffer from allergies, to people who catch colds (and even those who just need to wipe away some tears after hearing an emotional story).

CALL TO ACTION: Although there is no explicit call to action in this advertisement, the warm feeling that you get while watching it might just be a call to action in itself. Additionally, the tag line at the end that says “Kleanex: somebody needs one” portrays the message that you need a Kleanex – so go buy one!

VALUE PROPOSITION: On an emotional level, the value in this commercial is that it makes you feel a little better about the world, and even the Kleanex company for paying someone like this to tell their story. On a business level, it builds up good public relations about the company and helps give a cold, hard, corporation a touch of humanity.


4. Destini Thoughts

ABOUT: The impact that smoking cigarettes has on lives is undeniable – yet people still choose to smoke. That is why anti-smoking advertising campaigns are still in full swing today. In this advertisement from the North Carolina Health and Wellness Trust Fund, a young woman named Destini tells the tragic story of how her father’s death from tobacco will negatively shape her life.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this ad is clear: communicate the fact that smoking not only harms you, but everyone around you. As a result, you should think twice before lighting up and creating more carnage.

TARGET MARKET: Anti-smoking campaigns typically focus their efforts on preventing young people from starting, and helping young people to stop. This is because they have the greatest amount of life still left in them, and they will shape the next generation of life on this planet.

CALL TO ACTION: At the end of the ad, Destini asks if anyone can explain her situation to her. Why was it that cigarettes were more important to her father than her future was? Why is it that she will now have to travel this world alone without her dad since he chose smoking over her? This powerful question calls each and every one of us to never pick up a cigarette.

VALUE PROPOSITION: Once again, the value that is proposed doesn’t come from a product or service. In fact, it comes from the lack of one: the lack of a product called cigarettes. The value that comes from this is a healthier, longer, and fuller life spent with you and those around you.


5. Geico Unskippable Family

ABOUT: Perhaps the darkest, most gripping ad of all, Geico tells the story of a dog who steals food from a family just to survive. Okay, I’m kidding of course! But I couldn’t resist not throwing in one funny ad so as to lighten the mood. This ad from Geico is short, original, and funny – just like many of their ads are.

OBJECTIVE: Geico has had such a huge marketing campaign that they almost don’t need to brand themselves as car insurance anymore. Simply having screen time with their Geico logo is what is accomplished here, and they do it well. As always, it seems that brand awareness is the goal.

TARGET MARKET: This ad is most likely targeted to a younger audience given its style of creation, but the range of people who need car insurance is broad. Just about anyone can recognize that an ad is from this company, even before they say their company name.

CALL TO ACTION: The classic tagline “15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance” is used to further cement in our minds that we should give Geico a try next time we think about switching car insurance.

VALUE PROPOSITION: A wonderful dinner is expensive. But if you switch to Geico, you’ll have some extra money since they could save you 15% or more. So you might just be able to have a fancy dinner of your own (just keep an eye on your dog this time).

What did you think? Leave some feedback! :)

8 thoughts on “5 Powerful Television Ads (and what makes them effective) – Week 3

  1. Shockwave was sad but so true with car accidents. A great high school friend was hit by a drunk drive and was killed and the other high school friend with her lived. That was hard from several different angles. This ad got its message across for sure. I like the story of unlikely best friends and never guessed it was going to end up being a kleenex ad. You are right, using emotions helps people remember and is an attention grabber. Destini Thoughts was short and got it’s point across very well. I enjoyed the adds.

  2. Austin,
    Great posting. The Shockwave # 2 commercial instantly captivates the viewer’s attention when the announcer says, “There’s about to be an accident.” Instinctively the viewer cannot look away. I liked the imaginary and the play rate that the commercial used. It becomes even more real when you can see the impact an avoidable crash can have on one’s family or friends. In addition, as driver you are reminded how easily it is to get distracted while driving and cause devastation. Road Circulation Security Delegation did an overall great job on the commercial. I liked the link you provided with statics on distracted drivers and I agree with your value proposition, “Driving while distracted can take everything in just one instant.” Could be a great tagline.

  3. Shockwave #2 – Since young folks don’t perceive themselves as fragile I wonder if the target is really parents who view the ad and then pester their children to stop texting while driving
    Astronaut #2 – Per my comment to MURPHY NC REAL ESTATE BLOG, I find the request money component of non profits to be a mistake. If non profits are supposed to maximize impact vs. profit then by asking for money they are attempting to do both. When the appeal for money show up I immediately lose the emotional piece and figure the emotion is just a technique to get me to give them money.
    Unlikely Best Friends – Chance – The Kleenex people seem to recognize this. Had they said “go buy Kleenex”, the message would not have been as strong

  4. Austin,
    I enjoyed your choice of TV ads. I think the Shockwave ad could be for anyone driving nowadays. I see people of all ages texting and holding their phones to talk all the time. It is scary to see what goes on the roads nowadays. It was a gripping ad. I think someone should tell Destini that smoking is as addictive as heroin and that is why her father is gone. All the ads created quite an emotional response and will not be easily forgotten. I think advertisers know how much Americans love their dogs and use it to their advantage when advertising.

  5. Thanks for your insights, Austin!

    I see we both tackled the Destini spot. That was an interesting one, wasn’t it? It never showed the product, yet implied that life would be better without it. It does, as you point out, have power nonetheless.

    I would imagine tissue advertising is a challenge. Almost anything one might choose to do has that tear-jerking, almost pandering need for heart-wrenching stories. It’s tough for a company who makes a product so closely associated with primarily bad times in someone’s life (tears, colds, flu) to advertise well. Kimberly-Clark does a nice job here with this ad for Kleenex. I agree that their target is broad; why do you think they chose a happy-sad type of spot that addresses the use of the product for those emotional times? Are there other spots in the campaign that might address other uses?

    I do agree that the spot helps to deliver on a value proposition of “we care” quite well.

  6. Austin,
    You picked a lot of public service ads until the last one. “Shockwave” was intensely emotional for me as my teenage daughter survived a horrible car crash in November when her friend didn’t see a stop sign. I know all too well the aftermath and how a parent/family feel. In the second one, the child’s voice narrating and his POV brings a heightened sense of emotion. In the Klennex ad, I liked the parallel story of the man and dog being in a wheelchair. I felt it was forced when the wife wiped her eye with the Klennex after speaking about the dog, versus her husband. The smoking ad used the same device of a child’s narrating and showing her POV. The man in Geico is trying not to laugh as the dog devours his food and tries had to reach the daughter’s plate from across the table.

  7. Public service announcements like Shockwave are effective, aren’t they? I remember reviewing a similar ad in the “don’t-text-and-drive” campaign and that one had an interesting twist: the driver in question was a mom with a young child in the backseat. I thought that was kind of smart in that it hits that older demographic who think they are better, more experienced drivers and maybe…just maybe…they can get away with a little cell phone usage behind the wheel. But both of these ads do a lot to make you more cognizant of those little actions you normally don’t pay much attention to. Maybe it saves some lives.

  8. Hello Austin, every time I see the ad Shock Wave, it gives me the chills. I have arrived on scenes and actually observed the aftermath of an accident. The illustration of what happens to not just the drivers but the families are amazing and it makes you want to where your seat belt. I enjoyed the others as well however this one was my favorite.

    Great Post!

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