Archive for March 2010

The Power of One

March 26, 2010

Long before Twestival, there was television.

With the time for Earth Hour fast approaching, I’ve seen the number of # earth hour tweets increase exponentially on my Twitter account. As I go through the tweets I realize that long before hashtags, protest groups on Facebook, and online social change networks – in general before social media for social change became the norm; television was largely the broadcast medium for Public Service announcements (PSAs).

A PSA in the traditional sense is usually the result of a collaborative effort between an ad agency and a non-profit or a government outfit with its primary goal being ‘awareness for a cause’. Over the years, there have been numerous memorable public interest campaigns. The Power of One, produced in 1993 by the Teresa and H. John Heinz III Foundation in cooperation with the Earth Communications Office is one such outstanding creation.

It’s a montage of compelling images interspersed with powerful words that highlight the strength of one person’s conviction – of making a difference and creating change.

I think it is unequivocally a masterpiece on an artistic level. In terms of statistics, how far was the reach and how deep the impact is something I’d like to find more about…

Here take a look. Then switch off the computer for Earth hour, please.


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Ad Icons

March 21, 2010

Reading my prior post about Amul billboards got me thinking about other ad icons. I was amazed at how many of these exist out there. Pillsbury’s Poppin’ Fresh, Air India’s Maharaja, Marlboro’s Marlboro Man, Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger, 7Up’s Fido Dido, Michelin Tires’ The Michelin Man, and on goes the list…

Judging from such a large presence, their role is apparently an important one. They help make a brand more recognizable in the marketplace. But really, is their raison d’être merely providing an easy identifier to the brand. Or is there more that is achieved by these ostensibly ubiquitous images?

Ad icons are carefully characterized to embody the brand they represent. They help make a brand human with lifelike traits. Thus differentiate it from the many others and make it stand out. Or what Seth Godin would call making of a purple cow in a field of monochrome Holsteins.

Tony The Tiger 1st appeared on Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes boxes in 1951. With a ready smile and a friendly demeanor, Tony gradually won over consumers of all ages, especially became a favorite of children. Fido Dido – the cool dude of 7 Up appealed to the cola drinking young adults in late 80s, through the 90s and is still going strong.

Do you have a favorite ad or brand icon?


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Orange: Together We Can Do More

March 14, 2010

I included this Orange ad in the series just because it makes me smile every time I see it. The defiant young boy’s expression is priceless. Imagination is indeed a powerful thing. And when combined with the universal reach of sports, football in this ad, makes for a great concept.

Orange launched this communication campaign to coincide with the 2010 African Cup of Nations in Angola. Flawless execution of “Together We Can Do More” by Publicis Counseil of Paris…



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Happy Feet

March 13, 2010

Okay I admit it. The title of this post is not exactly a tag line a.k.a slogan from an ad. I borrowed it from the 2006 animated feature film Happy Feet. But De Lijn’s (Belgium’s National public transport company) 30 second commercial does have a lot in common with the film. For starters, there are penguins who embrace togetherness to survive. There is subtle humor to drive home a point – that travelling in groups can be good to lighten increased traffic congestion.  Showcased in a fun way, the January 2009 spot  illustrates that advertising need not be overbearing to promote positive behavior change. It deservedly won a Bronze at the New York Festival for best TV-animation.


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Airtel: Express Yourself

March 11, 2010

Clearly, the black and white montage in Airtel’s Express Yourself commercial was aimed at enabling the brand’s connect with consumers on an emotional level.  This was back in 2003 when I was an advertising student in India. Since then the brand campaign has evolved in keeping with the evolution of Telecom category in the country – going through different stages of creating category and technology awareness, targeting premium segment and penetrating mass market. And now with record growth in subscriber base, is digging deeper into user groups with specific product promotions.

Back in 2003, I remember taking an instant liking to the tag line Express Yourself, probably because I was trying desperately to find my own voice.  And of course the copy in the specific spot I am referring to sealed the deal for me. The background score in this commercial is almost certainly the most popular ring tone of all time.


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Visa: Go World

March 10, 2010

Visa’s “Go World” campaign was launched in the US during the 2008 Summer Olympics. It comprised TV Commercials, print and online ads, and an online microsite. More recently, the campaign continued its winning spree with the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The signature 2008 Olympics collection boasts of TV commercials in sepia tones that use still photographs and moving images from past Olympics and combine those with Morgan Freeman’s booming voice over. The ads are based on the premise that human spirit is indomitable. And perhaps nowhere is this embodied more than it is in the triumph, passion and extraordinary will of athletes.

Here are a few of my favorites: the Centerpiece ‘Come Together’ that truly showcases the unifying quality of this century old Sports tradition; and the ones with Kerri Strug performing the vault and Fosbury leaping over the bar.

The essence of these ads is in their narration.

So shh… and listen in!


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