Today’s ads – whether for tires or traction control – are all about sticking to the road. You will note that the Audi idea is pretty much identical to the Goodyear idea. Only the executions differ, and given that both campaigns were done by agencies in São Paulo, I’m guessing that the similarities prompted much, um, debate there. Anyway, I see that the Goodyear Baby and Goalkeeper ads were shortlisted at Cannes this year, so I guess Y&R can claim victory this time around.
The Audi and Goodyear ads underscore one of the dangers of purely visual thinking. The duplication of ideas (whether intentional or not) is far more likely when your idea is expressed in a picture. Words are far more ownable, and Nike’s Just Do It is but one example of that.
Another issue raised by the Audi and Goodyear ads is that of relevance to people outside the ad community. Both campaigns speak to a functional benefit (that is, traction) through a wildly inventive analogy. Audi helps you grip the road like an eagle grips its prey! Goodyear grabs the road like a hungry baby grabs a bottle! If I’m a non-ad person in the market for better control on the road, I don’t think this dance with the surreal persuades me that your technology is better than anyone else’s. A former creative director at Ogilvy used to describe ideas like these as “clevah,” and he didn’t mean it as compliment. Whatever the creative teams’ intentions were, I think we can all agree that these ads speak more clearly to awards show judges than they do to the ordinary Joe who’s wondering which tires to buy.
For a more responsible (but still creative) approach to the same brief, I offer the last two ads, which are from Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, respectively. Both these ads play with reality (through the multiple speed signs and the slalom gates), but they are close enough to reality to make me feel the emotion around wanting to be secure on icy roads. (That emotion is certainly heightened by showing the road from my point of view.) If one measure of a good ad is its emotional power, Mercedes and VW win over Audi and Goodyear, no question.
This is not to say that you should avoid doing wildly random ideas. Awards shows celebrate envelope-pushing ideas, and awards will be a big part of realizing your big ambitions. But if you also want to be respected for understanding what motivates consumers, you’ll want to spend more time studying the last two ads than you will the first five.
Credits below. Thanks, once again, to Ads of the World for the images.
Advertising Agency: AlmapBBDO, São Paulo, Brazil
Chief Creative Officer: Marcello Serpa
Executive Creative Director: Luiz Sanches
Creative Director: Marcos Medeiros, Andre Kassu
Art Director: Diego Lauton
Illustrator: Marco Furtado
Advertising Agency: DDB, Milan, Italy
Creative Directors: Luca Albanese, Francesco Taddeucci
Art Director: Armando Viale
Copywriter: Valerio Le Moli
Account Supervisor: Chiara De Simone
Account Executive: Alessia Mognon
Photographer: FM Photographers
Advertising Agency: Y&R, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Chief Creative Officer: Rui Branquinho
Creative Directors: Rui Branquinho, Flavio Casarotti, Alexandre Vilela (Xa), Felipe Gall
Copywriter: Igor Cabo
Art Director: Jose Neto
Photographer: Platinum FMD
Art Buyers: Monica Beretta, Stephanie Wang, Juliana Gardim
Print Agency Producers: Elaine Carvalho, Flavio Zamboni
Advertising Agency: Scholz & Friends, Berlin, Germany
Chief Creative Officer: Martin Pross
Executive Creative Director: Matthias Spaetgens
Creative Directors: Robert Krause, David Fischer, Philipp Woehler
Art Director: Melanie Specht
Copywriter: Stefan Sohlau
Account Manager: Anna Gabriel
Account Supervisor: Stefanie Wurst
Photographer: Maground.com / Gozooma.de
Art Buying: Kirsten Rendtel
Postproduction: Appel Grafik