Tag Archives: anatomy of an insight

Anatomy of An Insight: Norwegian Airlines “The Flag of Flags”

The week filled with flying and airlines continues.

Having been part of the team doing Norwegian launch in Finland, I am delighted that there is still creativity behind the brand in Nordics. This  brilliant print ad comes from M&C Saatchi, Stockholm (probably the first print I have featured in here):


Insight: There are over six flags (Indonesia, Poland, Finland, France, Netherlands & Thailand) in the flag of Norway. Norwegian Airlines is Norwegian company (duh) and after 2013 they are also flying long haul to Thailand (European cities being short haul. What would be better way to showcase new flight discounts than put them inside the Norwegian flag?

Is this original idea?

Definitely not.

Is this a great advertisement?

Definitely yes. It has the element of surprise and delight that great advertisements have. Besides great creative hook it still does the hard sell as well. Although you would not get the trick of the ad, you would still get the fare destinations and discounts. This separates this particular ad from certain previous ads playing with flags inside flags.

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Anatomy of An Insight: The Hoop

Mulberry has done the best Christmas ad as it strikes just the right chord with its take on the Christmas materialism. More on a tearjerker side, this ad really made me emotional. Either it is because of my eternal love of basketball, reminiscing my grandfather building me a basketball backboard or thinking about my goddaughter getting older; this ad from Dick´s Sporting Goods really lifted my holiday spirit.

Insight: Best gifts might change your life, both for the giver and receiver.

I remember when I got my first proper running shoes (Nike, of course), Snoop´s first album, first great dinner in proper fine-dining restaurant or a 10-time card for hot yoga. These gifts nudged me to certain direction in life and also strengthened the passion I have for the best things in life (sports, hiphop, food). I am eternally grateful for those gifts. They are also great demonstration on how things make you happy. If they don´t, you just are not getting the right things.

In this ad, the hoop serves as a metaphor for the relationship of father and daughter and how basketball is the glue between them. Right gift at the right time can help to retain the relationship and also elevate it to the next level.

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Anatomy of An Insight: I Hate Thailand

Although this spot is a little bit long-winded and the protagonist probably deserved to be robbed, it is still quite refreshing travel ad from Thailand ´s Tourism Authority:

Insight: Setbacks can happen on your holiday, but that is part of the whole charm of travelling. By starting to build up this spot from the negative experience, it gives more authentic point-of-view than traditional destination advertising. Thailand has had bad year in tourism due to numerous reasons so overtly positive advertising would have felt totally out of place.

Brands do not generally understand that consumers actually love honesty instead of sugarcoated fantasy. Their cellphones have been snatched by ladyboy, they have gotten violent diarrhea from raw sesame chocolate balls or been tricked by taxi uncle. When brand addresses upfront that something bad might happen if you are unlucky, drunk or both, it can actually concentrate on your positive message.

Some people have actually mistaken this to be a real thing and not an ad. I think it is obvious that it is ad (no one would make this cheesy of a story) and if you had mistaken it for real thing, I recommend courses in media literacy. The ad has been success with the audience as well, clocking almost 2 million views.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Crib In My Pants

I have been playing this on rewind throughout the whole day:

Business insight: Beards have been all the rage last couple of years thanks to hipsters and Zach Galifianakis. Because of that the shavers and razor blades have not been that much in demand. That has forced shaving brands to move more to trimming and also expand from shaving to overall manscaping territory. This ad is for styling razor and what is also notable is that the main male protagonist sports stubble. Sometimes you need to find additional usage for your product if it loses the relevance.

Human truth: Guys do not really care about personal care. They would not use deodorant, shave or shower without women. They are either forced to use the products, they are using them in hope of becoming more attractive or they are just using whatever is available. These basic insights have been the goldmine of pretty much all the great personal care advertisements. You use Axe, because you want to get laid. Old Spice knows that it is your wife, who is buying your products. You should use Dove Men, because you are so lazy that you are using your wife´s shampoo.

The formula for this ad is great. First you seed doubt with the female testimonials and make guys insecure about their “crib´s” condition. Then you lighten mood with the humorous song with witty lyrics. Finish it off with the main benefit and product shot. Marvelous!

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Anatomy of An Insight: Canal Digital Silver Hand

There are currently so many good TV shows, that you should get a time off from work to catch up with all of them. Canal Digital Norway taps into this insight with this brilliant ad:

Insight: One of the biggest fears of modern man is the fear of missing out.

If you have not seen Breaking Bad, Ray Donovan, Mad Men or whatever happens to be currently the hot show, you will be left out of the conversation. In this film, Canal Digital has dramatized the hell out of this strong insight and captures perfectly the moment when you don´t know what other people are talking. One of the great glimpses of insight in the ad is in 21s mark, when the poor protagonist tries to use the TV show reference but applies it in wrong context. So been there, done that.

The Nordic Humor shines through the clip and it does not miss a beat. Where some other client might have ruined the clip by having happy ending or some other sentimental bullshit, this clip just goes from bad to worse. Ignore the pop culture references at your own peril, or you end up as an one-legged miserable dude. This is absolutely brilliant work from Try/Apt.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Mulberry #WinChristmas

“The worst gift I was given is when I got out of rehab that Christmas; a bottle of wine. It was delicious.”
-Craig Ferguson

While John Lewis and Coke do the sentimental sugarcoated Christmas ads, it is Mulberry who does the most authentic and snarky Christmas ad. It is done by adam&eve, who have also done the John Lewis ads. This is a great manifestation that great agencies are not just one-trick ponies (or unicorns):

Insight: Christmas is a material holiday.

Yes, there is some religious aspect to it for those who are into those things.
Yes, it is nice to spend time with your family
Yes, it is awesome to eat all those weird Christmas foods you would not eat any other time of the year.

But, at the end of the day, the Christmas is about presents. It is unadulterated celebration of capitalism and consumption. Forget all “the thought behind the gift is what counts” –bullshit, the greatest gifts are well-known brands with good resale value. Actually based on the studies people appreciate more presents they have asked for instead of surprises. Like my good friend summarized it couple of Christmas ago:

“This year we should buy some proper presents and not any of those self-made ones”

 I have once bought Mulberry bag as a present and I have probably never gotten such a good response for a gift. Not even when I tried to top it up next year with unicorn.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Netflix GIF Campaign

Using technology is not an idea.

However, when you do something as cool as this you do not really need to unearth some deep insightful human truth. Sometimes it is just enough to surprise and delight your audience with that technology:

Insight: People are already making shitloads of gifs about TV series. Why Netflix would not use gifs about TV series in their advertising?

That insight itself is quite bland so we need couple of twists to make this interesting. This is what many people in agencies don´t realize. Advertising seldom is doing something completely new. It is adding new twists to proven tactics. Therefore we don´t necessarily need to do different things than our competitor, we just need to do it

Twist #1: Put gifs in outdoor. Internet is full of GIFs, your nearest MRT station not necessarily so. I deliberately exclude the fact this was “the first time outdoor ad that was done entirely with GIFs”, because that is just typical case study hyperbole. There is first time for everything. The first times are not necessarily relevant, pleasant or something you should have done in first place. Like having first soda ad in space. Why?

Twist #2: Make them contextually relevant*. Make the ads react to their surroundings (weather, location) and make them real-time.

So there you have it, a recipe for success:

Fairly OK insight+2 twists+ Nice technical execution=Really Great Campaign!

*Planners should deliberately stay away from jargon as majority of the advertising problems are translation problems.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Horse With Harden


NBA season is starting soon and it will be super interesting.
Kobe and Derek Rose are back and Lebron is back in Cleveland.
From advertising perspective I have really enjoyed the James Harden & Foot Locker collaboration, which has resulted in many entertaining ads like “Short Memory”-series:

Charles Barkley is the greatest player ever and the most funniest commentator as well:

Pt.2 shows that sequels don´t ever work in Internet:

However, one of the more innovative campaigns was James Harden playing HORSE with Interwebs:

Insight: It is the age of YouTube celebrities. With enough time, you are able to do a trick shot that even the best NBA players cannot nail in one go. Opportunity to flex your special shot against James Harden is just too tempting.

It is always tricky for a brand to get people to engage to their competitions. When you can provide exposure and fame to the participant, the devoted fans will deliver. When you have people investing their time and putting their best effort to the campaign it will become interesting content for those who just want to consume the entertainment.

I have to say I like James Harden more as an advertising person than player, because this Beard Guru ad for NBA 2K15 is hilarious as well:

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Anatomy of An Insight: Base + Spotify PartyDrone

I thought that everything there were left to say about drones was in this ad:

Luckily I was wrong, because this is really nice:

Insight: Many festival sponsors try to catch the attention in the actual festival area. That is hard, as you are competing of the attention with the main attractions: the bands. Therefore wise marketer uses places that are not that contested. Like in this case the route to the actual festival area. Especially in the Nordic music festivals, camping area is quite untapped potential for many marketers and people actually craving for entertainment. Personalization was nice added bonus, but I think that just bringing music and entertainment to places which do not have those, is a great insight and idea.

I see potential for this idea to be used in further campaigns for Spotify as well and not just a one-off. In general, I feel that Drones are perfect fit for surprise and delight –campaigns. Just as long you remember that drone is not the actual idea, but what inspiring, innovative and insightful you can do with the drone.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Don´t Skip Breakfast

Good insight comes always from human truth. But that human truth can be super simple. That human truth can also come from specific media constraints.

Pre-roll is currently the most under-utilized and boring digital advertising format, but luckily there are brands who are putting some thought to it:

EAT – Don’t Skip Breakfast from Brave on Vimeo.

Insight: People skip most of the pre-roll ads. Many people skip their breakfasts as well. Latter is unhealthy, first probably opposite. Can we combine these two skipping behaviors?

Eat is a sandwhich chain. All of the office workers skipping their breakfast at home and skipping those YouTube pre-rolls at work, are a lucrative target audience for them.

Just acknowledging the fact that the skip ad –button is there is great.
Then rewarding those who watch it to the end is just brilliant.
This is simple, but genius work from Brave.

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