CCO at john st., Cher Campbell, reflects on a selection of light-hearted campaigns that struck a particularly personal chord
Many brands have gotten themselves all twisted up and are sometimes paralysed by ‘purpose’, and while it’s true that brands should know what they stand for, most of us just don’t need our mustard to save the world. And sometimes, all that purpose stuff sometimes comes at the expense of charisma, charm, magnetism or whatever you wanna call it, but to me, there’s nothing more important than feeling like you like a brand. I selected five ads that simply charmed me, where I felt the personality of the brand and I wanted to invite it into my life...
Curtice Brothers - 'Ketchup to the Rescue'
Agency: Ogilvy Berlin
I’m painfully jealous of this work and I hope it wins all kinds of shiny things. I didn’t know I could like a brand of ketchup this much, and although this brand is not on offer where I live, if it were, I’d buy it for sure, I’m completely smitten with these Curtice Brothers. Further, it could not have been easy to convince these fancy bros to associate themselves with the worst foods available. It also could not have been easy to convince terrible restaurants to advertise just how bad they are. The humans who made this happen must have been pretty charming themselves.
Burger King - 'All about the Whopper'
Self-deprecating wins the charm game every single time. Burger King pulls off a massive humble brag when proving no one can name a single menu item other than a Whopper. At first glance, it seems like a marketer’s nightmare scenario after investing who knows how much in developing, operationalizing and promoting items like the Ch’King Sandwich, the Bacon King, the Rodeo Burger (all of which I needed to google). But this idea is endearing in execution in the way that Burger King admits they are known for only one thing, and in such, prove how iconic it is.
Oatly - 'The New Norm&Al Show'
Agency: Oatly Department of Mind Control
Some brands are all purpose, and Oatly is a stellar example. Without the planet being on fire, I don’t know that I would have been convinced to try milk that comes from oats. One might argue that you don’t even need to be all that charismatic when you stand for something so important. But you if you are, all the better. This wildly entertaining short film packs in all kinds of preachy moralisation and I couldn’t be more here for it.
Duolingo - 'Tattoo Duo Over'
Agency: BETC Paris
Production: Bang TV London x Voir Paris
Director: Pierre-Edouard Joubert
Post: General Pop
People with tattoos in languages not their own have been derided for exoticising those languages or even cultural appropriation. Tackling a subject like this and not coming off as moralising or mean-spirited is a feat on its own, but I like this idea for its generosity, while still communicating the importance on learning languages - and its execution. So many good choices were made.
Acorns - 'Growth-Minded: Squirrels Know Wealth'
Production: Bob Industries
Director: Spencer Susser
There’s a lot of 'adorable' going on in this new brand campaign for Acorns. There’s a tiny squirrel headquarters, a tiny squirrel business suit, Christopher Walken - but that copywriting...wow. A lot of banks, financial products, funds and credit cards have sold the same thing Acorns does, products that squirrel away small sums constantly in order to grow an investment over time. I don’t think any of them have done it in such a charming way. I actually took away what Acorns wanted me to from this ad and I liked learning about their products. Weird...