My Favorite Commercials

As a marketing-major grad and an agency employee, I have an insider view on the marketing world. There’s a joy in understanding how to best convey the brand and value a company provides to those that need them. There are lots of channels and strategies that can be employed in the process of a campaign. Though more and more today my favorite parts of campaigns are experiential and not ads like these, there’s a lot to be said for this classic format. The following are some of my favorites because of how they connect to the audiences of the brands they represent. 

Timelines with Katie Couric for SK-II

I almost cried the first time I watched the intro video for this campaign. Especially for young women in the Millennial and Gen-Z generations, it will resonate. The campaign depicts the lives of four young women, one in the US, one in Japan, one in South Korea, and one in China. It continues to convey the expectations these young women face from those closest to them and the emotional burdens this places on their relationships. 

As a marketer, I think that some of the most crucial campaigns are not those that plaster the brand everywhere. That sentiment is clearly shared by the agency responsible, Forsman & Bodenfors Singapore and Sweden, and the SK-II brand itself. While more obviously branded content is important too, this type of documentary-like content connects consumers with the brand at a more genuine, human level. More and more consumers look to brands they buy from to take stances on issues that impact their daily lives, this campaign is a perfect example. 

Now for something a bit less serious…

The Kobe System for Nike 

As they say, customers don’t buy the product–they’re buying the benefits it provides. There’s no better way to express that type of idea than with the Kobe System. These videos depict the best of the best in their respective fields, from Richard Branson to Serena Williams, listening to Kobe Bryant talking about how to improve themselves. Honestly, what Kobe says comes of as nonsensical, making the whole premise of the video hilarious. But, what you come away with ultimately is that, even when you’re believed to be the best, you always have room to improve. And what could possibly help you on that journey if you admire Kobe Bryant and love to play basketball…? Probably a pair of shoes from Kobe’s line that was being advertised. 

Max & Bill for Extra Gum

Riffing off that thought of customers buying benefits and not products, companies are always finding ways to expand the uses of their products. If you look on the back of Ketchup bottles, there are recipes there that involve ketchup. Not super surprising–but who thinks of ketchup as an ingredient rather than a condiment? Likely, not too many people. Yet, it can be that and, perhaps, people will use it that way if it’s demonstrated it’s possible. The next ad is an example of a company, Extra Gum, emphasizing a potential benefit of their product that you would not initially think of.  

Why do you chew gum? Is it just for freshening breath or could it serve a social purpose too? 

I think I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the next ad…

Dream Crazier for Nike

If you couldn’t tell yet, I’m a fan of playing on emotions within advertising. Marketing that appeals to the consumers’ emotions helps to foster a connection between the brand’s identity and values and the consumer. What type of person wears Nike shoes is conveyed in the ad and then the consumer can tie this back to their own sense of identity. Dream Crazier, voiced over by Serena Williams, knows exactly what it’s doing as it speaks to the experiences of women and girls. They also knew their audience when they chose to launch the ad during the Academy Awards. Nike’s regular agency, Wieden and Kennedy, is one of my favorites of all time.

Nike is developing a track record for being representative of the thoughts of younger generations, millennials and Gen-Z , and it’s no coincidence that this audience spends far more on shoes. Nike might be taking some controversial stances, but those who are upset are not their bread and butter customers anyway.

Now, if you’re a marketing person too (or just liked this), I wanted to link an article I read this morning about a project with Rebel Wilson as a bonus.

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