Sound Derision

09 Apr 2013|Cultural Insight Team

On a recent trip to the cinema one of our number was presented with these four ads before the film began. It got us thinking, here are a few observations.

Firstly, have a look at these adverts from two charities:

Marie Curie



Race for Life



They are both a montage of tiny moments from people’s lives. This is a very powerful and emotive technique, one that has been employed in film and television for years. It is a perfect way for charities to create compelling and touching communications that will heighten awareness of particular issues and speak to emotional truths about how people have experienced them.  Now have a look at these, from two mega-brands:







It is interesting that all four of these adverts employ the same montage style. This won’t get past consumers, especially with this style so dominant in the advertising world today. Their is a risk that whilst it works wonderfully for Race for Life and Marie Curie cancer care, when brands like McDonalds and Sony employ this style it could appear to be an emotional over-claim.

It raises questions of emotional authenticity. It seems spurious to attempt to place these brands, while certainly loved by some, as pivotal lynchpins in the lives of us all.  It can be tough to be a new stepdad or stepson, but it could seem as if McDonald’s is suggesting that the pound-saver menu might help smooth the rough patch. And Sony, quite frankly, it looks a little like you’re claiming the fall of the Berlin Wall as one of your successes.

As an aside, we would also like to take the opportunity to tell you David Bowie (yes you) that it makes us a bit sad to see Sound and Vision on an ad and given the John Lewis treatment its always been one of our faves – and it seems to actually be you singing it. 

We know how valuable an emotional connection can be to creating a compelling piece of brand communications; however have these gone too far?  We’re concerned that this sort of emotional over-claim is the sort of thing that big brands will come to regret in the future as consumers become cynical about it as a tactic. Is it enough to simply put your brand in the midst of a moving story or significant moment that bears little relation to what your product provides?  We think a brand should be trying to build emotional traction by focusing on what it actually does and the role it actually plays in our lives, not hoping to glean that traction by simple proximity.

In fact there was a fifth advert that was shown before that film that really hit this brief, it too used this sort of montage style to create a compelling feeling around their brand, but in Lurpak’s case it was entirely within the limits of what they can actually offer. This is an ad we can get behind.



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