Ad of the Week: Because that’s what friends do
by Oresti Patricios (@orestaki) Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg won a Gold and two Bronzes at the Cannes Lions in June 2015, for the agency’s radio campaign for Lucozade. The concept “Give Me Strength” is based upon the idea that when, everyday problems seem insurmountable, Lucozade is there to give you the boost you need.
The campaign has been expanded to other media, but the agency has stayed true to the founding positioning of these ads and it works a charm. The other constant is that all the Lucozade ads are narrated by a strident voice that puts you (the listener/observer) in the picture. Which really works because, while other energy drinks appeal to extreme sports and endurance events, Lucozade’s all about being there for ‘ordinary’ people.
Keep on going
The message? When the going gets tough — when a lesser mortal might give up — Lucozade is on hand to provide the energy required to keep on going — through the night, if need be.
The new series of TV ads feature testing scenarios such as a mother using every trick known to humankind to get gum out of her daughter’s hair, or a husband proving to his wife that he is a handyman, and can install a water-feature, all by himself.
The best ad of the entire campaign, for me, is called “Performance Art”. You are placed in a situation that may be familiar (or maybe not; regardless, it’s still darn funny), where your best friend has given up his job in accounting, his wife has left him, and you have agreed to watch him perform on stage. And for three hours you, Francois’s best friend, sit and endure a modern-dance interpretation of someone’s acid-fuelled nightmare (or so it seems). Because you are a Good Friend.
“It is Francois’s dark hour, and he needs you. All he has left is his art, and you!” the narrator cries, as the bizarre dance takes place. The camera always shows either extreme close-ups or oblique angles of the main character, the “you” of the piece — and this anonymity allows the viewer to feel that, yes, that could be me. The narrator cries: “Though you don’t get art, and have been not getting art for three hours now.”
It is a masterful piece of copywriting, and it could even have stood on its own as a radio script, but the production adds to the overall effectiveness in several ways.
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For a start, the interpretive dance is absolutely spot on, reminiscent of the sort of thing that first-year drama students would put on in an ‘experimental space’. Chalk dust flying, a wheelchair as an obtuse prop, and a bare black-and-white stage with stark lighting — it’s classic, cringe-worthy, self-indulgent non-art.
The colour grade is desaturated, which mirrors the desperate mood of both the performance and the poor observer, until the Lucozade comes into shot — then, the orange of the bottle stands out in contrast. There is no pack shot; all we see is a close-up of the bottle as it’s lifted to the lips. And this is the only time we see the product — there is no end-board, no slogan. It’s a daring move, as cold drinks and energy drinks depend upon user-recognition. But I think it works, because the story is so powerful, and the comedy is so memorable.
And the humour is well-crafted, too: there is a twist in this tale of your encounter with performance art, because when the curtain closes after three hours, and you think it’s all over, a glance at the programme reveals that no, it’s just “half-time”. Of course, that’s when you reach for the Lucozade and steel yourself for another gruelling session. And at the end of it all, you stand up and applaud. Because you’re a Good Friend.
The narrative speaks directly to the viewer in the second person, and it is this voiceover that really makes this ad. It is extremely dramatic and is delivered with an urgency that suggests that this is the most-challenging effort ever undertaken in the history of the world. A feat that would give Felix Baumgartner (the first human to jump from the edge of space) a panic attack.
For sheer originality, insight and humour, this ad is probably destined for more Cannes glory for the venerable O&M. Needles to say, I’m sure it will more than do the job for the brand.
Advertising agency: Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg, South Africa
Chief creative officers: Chris Gotz, Pete Case
Executive creative directors: Mariana O’Kelly, Neo Mashigo
Creative directors: Peter Little, Molefi Thulo
Art director: Tammy Retter
Copywriters: David Krueger, Molefi Thulo
Director: Dean Blumberg
Production house: Bouffant
Executive producer: Peter Carr
Producers: Chanelle Critchfield, Sanra Broekman, Sarah Davidson
Agency producer: Juliet Curtis
DOP: Clive Saake
Post-production: Jean Du Plessis at Blade
Art director/production design: Harry Webster
Editor: Tessa Ford
Audio: Louis Enslin at Produce
Cheers to great work from Windhoek and MarkLives.com!
Windhoek loves pure genius like it loves pure beer and will be dropping off a drink at this week’s winning agency so the team may celebrate in pure style!
Brewed over 21 days, under the expert eye of master brewer Christian Mueller, Windhoek adheres to the ancient Reinheitsgebot law, literally “purity of beer”, which was implemented in 1516 when the Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria announced that only barley, hops and water were to be used.
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. If you are involved in making advertising that is smart, funny and/or engaging, please let Oresti know about it at email@example.com.
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