Advertising is tricky. You really have to find the best way to connect with your audience and trigger the right emotions that will make them want to buy something. I could cover a wide range of topics here but first I just want to talk about the commercials that are supposed to get you teary eyed. They hit you right “in the feels.”
Ads That Do This in Spades:
Subaru – “Best Friend”
Oh my GOD, this commercial! I think this is the first commercial that ever made me cry, and it still does, pretty consistently (sometimes I have to LEAVE THE ROOM). You start out with a single guy and his puppy, then his wife and now the puppy is a dog, and then they have a kid! And the dog is super old! What a way to succinctly paint the idea that life is fleeting, and it’s fragile. It also plays with the notion of loyalty, and how your Subaru will be around forever, just like your dog (spoiler alert: that dog is going to die someday though). So suddenly there’s a toddler in the backseat, and you think about your own life, and how it’s really blink-and-you-miss-it. Also, the music. The music is just devastating. Watch this and I DARE you not to get a little choked up.
Subaru – “Cut the Cord”
Another Subaru. I should just mention right now that all the commercials that are “wins” for me are for Subaru. They must have a helluva ad department over there. Anyway, this commercial got me too. It was almost competing with the dog commercial but the music just isn’t as heart-wrenching. That little girl’s face is perfect. How many of us have been there? The very first day of school; we don’t know what’s ahead. We’re scared and our mom or dad is about to send us away. The look on the dad’s face is equally as precious, because he’s just as scared as his daughter. It deals those big moments that everyone faces in life, and how hard it can be to do so (see below). I will say though, this ad misses the mark in making the connection between The Feels and The Car.
Subaru – “Baby Driver”
BLINK AND YOU MISS IT, AMIRITE? The message here is that you can trust this car, and it’s so safe that your daughter–who is still just your little girl–can drive it and you can feel assured. Ah, fragility of life. There may come a day soon where I’ll be in the market for a new car, and dammit, Subaru, it just might be you. I’ll use skepticism and caution when picking out a car, but just the fact that they are so good at advertising, they’re worth a look.
Ads That Suck Beyond Belief:
Without a doubt, the commercials for “Open Hearts”, the actress Jane Seymour’s jewelry collection with Kay Jewelers is the absolute worst example of connecting with people. “The Feels” it has none. I find these commercials unnatural and contrived. Such wooden acting, with no real trigger or true emotion and no real effort of connecting with people. Here’s a bonus commercial which is equally vomit-inducing. And what a shitty thing to advertise for, too. Ugly, gaudy necklace, and the idea that you can use jewelry to thank or show affection for people. Ugh!
Folgers – “Christmas 2009”
I’ve been forced to watch this one a couple times on Hulu. Just terrible, and Folgers is already not coffee I want to contemplate buying. Who is this rugged, manly guy who is such a softie for his family? Must be the ideal son. And his sister and he have a tender moment on Christmas Morning. AWWW? Totally manufactured in its delivery, and these people are almost robot-like.
Budweiser – “Clydesdales”
This is the most recent commercial, which was aired on Super Bowl Sunday. I think it was my least favorite of the night. I mean, try harder, Budweiser? Their use of the song “Landslide” almost puts this one down the middle for me, but what ultimately puts me over the edge is the ending. It’s like a bad romantic comedy – OR – romantic drama, I can go either way. How am I supposed to relate to this? This guy doesn’t show me anything that makes me believe he really loves that horse. It was also spoiled for me half-way through when I thought the horse was being shipped off to be turned into glue, which made me laugh [NOTE: Animal Cruelty isn’t funny, but the perceived notion of a beloved, majestic creature have an Animal Farm-like end is hi-larious].
So there you go. This is obviously a small sampling, where I have the only commercials that really get me, and the worst commercials I’ve ever seen. But advertising is tricky like that isn’t it? In the future, I’ll touch upon commercials that get you in “The Funnies”. x
note: I thought about commercials that’ll get you super down, like anti-drug ads, but those seemed a bit easy and therefore were not mentioned.