Tag Archives: anatomy of an insight

Anatomy of An Insight: Never Say No to Panda

Damn I am getting old, I am not up-to-date with all the different memes at the moment. I also have totally missed this advertising hit from 2010 as well.

Panda Cheese commercials are classic marketing. TV spots build around dramatizing the tagline. Simple approach: Just hammering home that you should never say no to panda. What makes these spots modern marketing is the craft and flair of them. Without the product tagline these would still be entertaining content and not out of place in sites like 9GAG or Reddit.

There is not really any major consumer insight here. If you don´t count that people like to laugh and it is disturbingly funny to see cute animal like Panda behaving like bully and terrorizing people. Too often planners spend time on inventing pseudo-insights like “Eating cheese makes you reminisce and you are actually eating your childhood memories” instead of being truly helpful. Cheese is cheese, make it fun and make sure your brand is remembered. Our field of work is not rocket science, simple is effective. Effective is beautiful.

Different approach and great idea trumps half-boiled consumer insight any day.

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Anatomy of An Insight: The Scarecrow

Unlike Hollywood, Internet usually does not favor sequels. Of course there are always expectations to the rule:

If you are working in advertising it has been hard to avoid the new Chipotle ad. All the praises have been duly deserved; it is really great piece of work. Seldom you get such a wide variety of feelings by watching an advertisement. Which is really refreshing. Ad made me want to cry and also to have a burrito to wipe those tears with. There is a wide range of human emotions that trigger people to buy (both positive & negative). Unfortunately, too few advertisers are venturing outside the “smiling happy people”-convention and end results are boring at best and disastrous at worst.

Insight: Often to define yourself, it is more important to state what you are not than what you are. The majority of the ad is about everything that Chipotle does not represent (or at least say they do not represent).
Like Simon Veksner pointed out in his blog, it is dramatizing the negative. Which is the only proper way for challenger brand to behave. Old habits die hard, so you need to aggressively point the problems in incumbent. Saying happily that you are alternative, is not sufficient. If you are challenger brand, you have to challenge.

Scarecrow campaign is a great example of integrated approach. The video is just the starting point to play Scarecrow-game and the loop is nicely closed when you win the burritos after you finished all the stages.

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Anatomy of An Insight: National Day Proposal

Too seldom I am able to highlight Singaporean ads here. Therefore I was delighted when I stumbled upon the new Mentos National Day song by BBH Asia-Pacific. The first Mentos National Day song about boosting the birth rate of Singapore was probably the most shared ad last year in Singapore. For Finnish person who has built his ad career mainly on rap songs and nationalism, this new song is even better:

Insight: Singapore & Finland are similar countries. Small, but highly successful countries which both are high on different international rankings (such as level of education). Singaporean media also regularly highlights news from Finland and has articles about the international rankings.
Based on my experience living in both countries, the mindset of the people is also somewhat similar. Both Singaporeans and Finns are obsessive about what other countries are talking about them. Which will mean that last year´s view counts might double as every Finn wants also to see what is talked about them.

Craft-wise this is definite improvement over last year´s campaign. Song is better (Lonely Island has been on heavy rotation), animation more sharp and the video is filled with more puns to find (also in Finnish). The chorus is nice nod to either strong Heavy Metal –heritage of Finland or to musical mish-mosh of this year´s official national day song.

Although the planner in me has not yet found the connection between Mentos and birth rate in Singapore, that was not as big issue as last year. The concept is already familiar enough. If (and hopefully when) Mentos does new song next year it is already an annual tradition and no one really thinks about why Mentos does National day song urging people to have sex.

Good example if you invent something which works, stick with it. Usually it works next time as well.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Oreo Separator Machine Series

I do not eat cookies.

But if I would eat them, they would definitely be Oreos. The 101 year old brand has been so on fire lately with their marketing activities. And their latest effort “Oreo Separator Machine” does not disappoint:

Product Insight: Oreo ads are great example of really simple but effective product insight. The product has two parts: crème & cookie. Those parts are so distinct frome each other that you are almost forced to select which part you like more. That difference can be polarizing as well and has been cause for endless arguments. Also the eating of the Oreo has own ritual for its users. The right one is of course this: Taking the top cookie off, eating it, licking the crème and finishing with the bottom cookie (mastered with Finnish Oreo knock-off Domino when I was child).
Majority of Oreo advertising has been about dramatizing either the interplay of its different parts or the ritual (typical example being this year´s super bowl ad for Oreo).

Creative leap: The great creatives in W+K combine couple of existing trends in these spots: D-I-Y tinkering (popularized by Mythbusters or Top Gear for autophiles) and Rube Goldberg Machine (Machines doing simple tasks in complicated ways. Lately popularized by Honda Cog, OK Go-This Too Shall Pass & Red Bull Athlete Machine).
These trends are combined with product insight and end-results are highly entertaining videos of how far people are going to separate the crème and the cookie:

Collaboration: These spots would not be so great, if the people doing separator machines would not be so entertaining. Nowadays doing great work is more and more about finding the new and surprising collaboration partners and giving them the brief and tools to do their own thing:

Continuum: In principle this series could last for quite long, as long as there are innovative collaborations and interest from the audience. Currently we are in fourth installment which ups the ante by involving robot butler Herb to the mix:

These ads are also refreshing, because they go against the old rule that you should not play with your brand if it is food. I think that if you get almost 4M views in YouTube for single product-centered video, the playing with food is not only allowed, but also highly recommended.

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Anatomy of An Insight: #firstworldproblems

And somewhere around the world
Someone would love to have my first world problems
Kill the moon and turn out the sun
Lock your door and load your gun
Free at last now the time has come to choose

-Matthew Good Band: Omissions of Omen

I am not huge fan of advertising for charity organizations. The work tends to be either scam or too preachy for its own good. What is usually lacking in creative idea, is compensated in shock value. That is why it was refreshing to see this:

Insight: In developed countries, our (first world) problems are quite trivial compared to (real) problems in developing countries.

Behavior: Although the insight in the campaign is quite simple truism, it is the behavior of the brand what makes it stand out. #firstworldproblems was popular meme and DDB found a great way to hi-jack that meme to benefit WaterIsLife. Tweets about #firstworldproblems are ironic and at least meant to be tongue-in-cheek. With this campaign, you are forced to think at least for a while about real world problems while you are cracking jokes about your iPhone´s lousy battery. Of course it induces guilt, but isn´t that the main emotion you actually want to raise when doing advertising for charity organization?

It is tricky for brand to take advantage of existing memes. You have to know the meme upside down and then also bring new meaning to it. What was parody was turned to something serious. With this campaign, that was done perfectly. Zigging when everyone else is zagging.

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Anatomy of An Insight: Grey Poupon Society of Good Taste


That has been the battle cry for the brands in the social media for the last couple of years. And fair enough, for the majority of the brands the more likes you have the better. But what if you are classy luxury brand? You do not necessarily want everyone and their neighbor to like your brand if you want it to be exclusive.

The new Grey Poupon Facebook-campaign*”The Society of Good Taste” feels like a breath of fresh air amidst the traditional like-begging campaigns. In this tongue-in-cheek application the mustard brand will only accept “classy” fans. Your “classiness” will be evaluated with algorithm searching and judging your user profile. Apparently not all of the applicants will be selected, although my social media profile seemed to be “classy enough”:

Apply for Grey Poupon fan status in their Facebook page.

Insight: When every brand is begging and bribing you to like them on Facebook, the value of the like for the consumer has become worthless. If something is easy and available to everyone, it does not seem interesting. Like Groucho Marx said “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member”.

This Grey Poupon campaign seems like a modern day and more humorous version of this classic Chivas Regal ad by Neil French:





In addition to the Facebook, Grey Poupon is upping the ante in social media and has also build their website entirely on Pinterest.

*Spotted from Adrants.

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