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5 Amazing New Worlds Created in Advertising



LBB’s Delmar Terblanche investigates how creatives have built stunning, captivating new realities in their work

5 Amazing New Worlds Created in Advertising

Worldbuilding tends to be thought of as the type of thing that only fantasy novels or high-budget blockbusters can do. But, actually, there are examples of creativity all around us which take the viewers into a distinct, different world. And one of the most interesting spaces where one finds this practice is in advertising.

Worldbuilding in advertising isn’t about creating fictional languages or countries, but simply creating a memorable, distinct space. It might mean looking at our everyday reality through new eyes, or using animation and VFX to design a whole new reality. Whichever method you choose, if you create a world that matches the product and sticks in a viewer’s mind, you’ll have designed a world in a way only great advertising can.

The Pepsi-Verse

One of the strongest, clearest examples of worldbuilding in recent campaigns is this from Special Group. The Pepsi-verse is a world where all life’s little annoyances go right, and it’s brought to life with a cool, chic, almost handmade aesthetic.

Both these hooks (the conceptual and the visual) are easily remembered. It’s a world that looks like this, where this thing happens. And its good vibes are an easy, upbeat, hard-to-shake association for the brand.

This is branded worldbuilding firing on all cylinders.

The Basketball Dimension

Sometimes though, the world doesn’t need to be a full-on alternate universe. Sometimes it can just be a heightened example of a space we already know. BRING’s wonderful campaign for 2k Games’s latest entry in the NBA series created a “greatest hits” of basketball culture for an Australian audience.

First, they embraced the history behind hip-hop and basketball. As ECD James “Griff” Griffiths put it, “one genre has been part of the sport’s DNA for decades: Hip-Hop… The video game has always celebrated hip-hop too through its soundtrack, with its annual in-game playlist reading like a greatest hits of the genre.” 

They then selected three Australian performers to highlight homegrown talent. They shot performing them in a space which was lit like the coolest, brightest, sleekest basketball gym in the world. And the piece de resistance was how they created the music - using the very sounds of the game to create backing tracks.

The result was an experience that felt like a whole, cohesive world; one where everything was basketball.

Gate-crashing Another World

Pizza Hut? Let's Try Pizza Hunt!

Another solution, of course, is to integrate with a pre-established new world. And few worlds are richer, fuller, and more rewarding to appear in, than the ones in gaming.

VMLY&R launched an activation where players in Call of Duty: Warzone could hunt down specific targets that let them order free pizza via the chat function. This blending of a virtual world with a real product is a great way to immerse consumers. Suddenly, the ad is no longer just a banner or a message somewhere out there; it’s something they’re interacting with. They become a part of the narrative.

Every player who hunted down a pizza in Call of Duty will remember that experience. They’ll remember how a virtual quest brought them a real reward. And then they’ll remember the brand.

Build A Fictional Brand

FINCH was behind this delightful instalment in Powershop’s ongoing campaign via Eighty-One. The series of ads, which feature a friendly-looking big pink personification of the brand, stepped clearly into worldbuilding territory with this entry.

The fictional brand comes into play in the form of a literal shop that sells power - an alternate version of Powershop that plays on all the tropes we know all too well about retail shopping. 

This alternate space isn’t just imaginative and memorable, it also plays on the very function of the brand. By creating a fictional version of itself, Powershop ensures the real thing will stick in the minds of viewers all the longer.

Make it Real

And last on our list, a subversion. This affecting Christmas  campaign from Wunderman Thompson focuses less on building a new world than on filling in the edges of our own. 

Wunderman Thompson Brings a Different Kind of Light Show to Perth's Christmas Streets

It uses OOH work to physically highlight spaces which may be used by those sleeping rough during the holiday season, drawing a direct connection between the real, external world and the campaign subject.

Sometimes, worldbuilding just means asking your audience to look at their own world in a different way. 

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LBB Editorial, Wed, 04 Jan 2023 08:20:52 GMT