Ad of the Week: A notebook that tugs at the heartstrings
by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Blogger, serial entrepreneur, investor and regular Quora contributor, James Altucher, recently wrote an inspiring piece, entitled “Time is not Money”. It’s a poignant observation: Altucher argues that if you lose money you can always make it back, but time, once lost, can never be recovered.
Time wasted at work could be time spent with your loved ones. Time lost in the hurly-burly of life is less time for creating a better quality of life. And the latest ad from Dialdirect, the direct-to-market insurance company, brings that simple message home, in a mini-movie that tugs at the heartstrings.
Joe Public TVC for Dialdirect: “The notebook”
“Now is not a good time,” we hear Mom say. She carries on preparing supper while continuing with the conversation. Noah looks at her and then the sink full of dirty dishes, and the next thing he gets up and starts washing the pots. Mom looks surprised, but says nothing.
Doing the chores
In subsequent scenes, Noah is seen doing various chores: taking out the garbage, washing clothes, making his bed, tidying his room, even trying his hand at cooking and ironing. It doesn’t all go well; in one scene Mom puts on a blouse, only to find it has been burnt.
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OK, so it’s not a very realistic scenario — it’s ‘too good to be true’, a cynic might say — but the magic of the story is how it sweeps one up in the charming character of Noah and his enterprising ways. The casting is spot-on, with both mother and son fitting their roles perfectly. And it’s their performances — and, by implication, the direction — that make the story work.
Greg Gray, of Velocity, is one of the top directors in South Africa at the moment; one of his commercials placed second in our #AdoftheYear Top 10 from last year: “The Reader” for Bell’s Whisky, which received two finalist awards at the New York Festivals 2014. He is also known for his handling of comedy performances, such as the Savanna cider series which has been running for some 10 years. Plus he’s won awards at Cannes, Clios, D&AD, Loeries and One Show.
But, getting back to our story, throughout this all, Noah has been keeping a list of the things he does in a little notebook.
Finally, we see him taking the dog for a walk, and Mom comes home to find the house tidy, but no Noah. She goes outside, as he returns home.
“Where have you been?” she asks.
Noah hands his mother the notebook.
“I’ve been saving you time,” he explains, as she opens the book to find the list of jobs he’s done, with the time taken neatly written next to each one. “So you can come to my play.”
The brightly coloured note from the first scene is inside the book, and it’s revealed that it’s an invitation.
The final scene is of Mom proudly watching Noah in the play (he plays a tree) and the voiceover says: “We know how precious every minute is. So we won’t waste any of yours.”
The story was shot in Cape Town; with beautiful exteriors, always either overcast or ‘magic hour’ evening scenes, which add to the mood. The grade is desaturated, although not overly so, and every scene is carefully composed.
Joe Public, Dialdirect’s agency, has recently rebranded the company, with a simpler logo and the slogan, “Insurance made easy”.
Creates an emotional response
Overall, I think this is a well-balanced and well-executed ad that creates an emotional response, while promoting the simple message that insuring with Dialdirect will save you time, so you can have more time for your life, and the people you care about.
This ad positions the brand as a customer-conscious company, with a heart. Hear, hear for Joe Public and Velocity!
Advertising agency: Joe Public, Johannesburg, South Africa
Chief creative officer: Pepe Marais
Executive creative director: Leon Jacobs
Creative group head: Martin Schlumpf
Copywriter: Annette de Klerk
Agency producer: Ananda Swanepoel
Production company: Velocity Films
Director: Greg Gray
Producer: Helena Woodfine
Ad of the Week, published on MarkLives every Wednesday, is penned by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki), the CEO of Ornico, a Brand Intelligence® firm that focuses on media, reputation and brand research.
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