Monday, June 25, 2007

Advertising's 'Evolution'

To see something breaking rules, going against empirical evidence and challenging the present, makes me feel good. The Dove 'Evolution' commercial made me feel good.

In case you've been too busy - or too ignorant - to watch the best television commercial made last year, you can catch it or or

It shows a model been made up and metamorphosed (with help from post-production studio-work) into a face for the billboard. "How did our idea of beauty become so distorted?" it leads you to ponder.

The film was created to expose the manipulation of the female image in the media. The objective was to encourage discussion around the subject of real beauty and lead people to the website.

This is marketing that touches the heart, strikes a cord, makes you connect with millions and makes millions buy what you're saying. And selling.

No doubt, it is a feel good piece of commercial communication. But my feeling good comes from more than this direct effect.

The ad was actually a viral video to bring leads on the brand's web-site.

With not a penny of paid media and in less than a month, "Dove Evolution," a 75-second viral film created by Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, for the Unilever brand has reaped more than 1.7 million views on YouTube and has gotten significant play on TV talk shows "Ellen" and "The View" as well as on "Entertainment Tonight." It's also brought the biggest-ever traffic spike to, three times more than Dove's Super Bowl ad and resulting publicity last year, according to

By those measures, "Evolution" is the biggest online-buzz generator in the U.S. personal-care and beauty industries, topping this year's effort from Omnicom Group's Tribal DDB on behalf of the Philips Norelco Bodygroom shaver. And that's before the campaign began rolling out to 10 additional countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America last week.

That should explain why it makes me feel good.

How hungry you, Johnny May?

For reasons best not known to my employers, i'm into radio. Not listening, but more than that. And soaking into the advertising fest at Cannes is a dream since some time. Somehow these got together and i found myself checking out the best advertising on radio the world has heard in the last year. Online, of course!

The Indian entries / winners, you've probably read about (Yes, read; not heard. Try telling a scam from genuine work.)

Anyways, the Grand Prix is the highest honour and in the category Radio Advertising, it went to an agency from Melbourne, Australia called Clevenger BBDO. The ad for which it won, was a 2-minute spot titled "Hoedown" for Snickers.

The idea was simple - eating a Snickers bar is like eating a horse.
The execution was funny, catchy, luxurious (2 minutes?), attention grabbing and attention holding. And i believe it must have been a great viral - with men of all ages and genders singing it as a alternative to a country folk-song.
The relevance - brilliant. Research suggests that 'filling ability' is a primary driver for preference among chocolate bars.

Listen to it at
Here is the script:

SFX: music
MVO1: Well, I'm so hungry…
MVO2: How hungry you, Johnny May?
MVO1: Well, I tell ya. I'm so hungry I could eat a horse.
MVO2: A horse?
MVO1: But not just any old horse. This is a special horse. 'Cause this old horse, well… He ate a chicken, and the chicken ate a cat, and the cat ate a dog, and the dog ate a frog.
MVO2: Go on now! Eat them furry critters!
MVO1: And the frog ate an eel, and the eel ate a panda.
MVO2: A panda. That's some endangered eatin'.
MVO1: And a panda ate a mule, and the mule ate a chimp, and the chimp ate a tapir.
MVO2: What in the hell is a tapir?
MVO1: A tapir's a nocturnal, mammalian quadruped that dwells in Central and South American jungles. Yee-haaaaaaaw.
MVO2: Well, what's it eat?
MVO1: This ol' tapir? Well he ate a moose, and the moose ate a rhino, and the rhino ate a rare- crested macaw. And I was so hungry, boy I ate 'em all.
MVO2: Yee-haaaaaaaw.
MVO1: But hold on now, there's more! I ate L to Z in the encyclopaedia. Then I ate Werribee and Micronesia. I ate 33 tons of Chicken Madras and 2 full canisters of VX nerve gas. I ate an Emperor penguin and the Great Wall of China. 26 steaks in a California diner. Two Beluga whales stuffed with bratwurst. A rusty old anchor and a pickled chirst.
MVO2: What the hell is a chirst?
MVO1: I don't know, I just made it up and ate it. Don't bother going to the Maldives these days, I polished 'em off with some herbed mayonnaise.
MVO2: So long, Maldives!
MVO1: I ate a Swedish futon and a queen size doona. Then Gary Busey and Lou Gosset Junior. A light sea-plane and a Dutch wooden shoe, the Big Brother house, and the gay guy too.
MVO2: You even ate the cameras? Well that's just greedy!
MVO1: I was hungry, so yes indeedy! Yeeee-haaaaaaaw!
SFX: Fiddles and banjos
MVO1: Now you go, Aussie Bill. Come on boy.
MVO3: Ok, here I go now!
MVO1: Sing it. Lay it on me! Yeeee-haaaaaaaw.
MVO3: Well… I was so hungry I ate a Snickers.
MVO2: I hate it when you do dat, Bill.
MV01: That's cheating, Aussie Bill.
MVO1: Play the game, Bill. Play the game.

Popular opinion, though, doesn't seem to be in favour of the ad winning the Grand Prix. Feedback on blogs and sites calls it "undeserving", "too long...and perhaps that is why it won!", "too stupid", etc.

I want to agree with the popular opinion. But instead, i'll just go have a Snickers.