Public Service Announcement (PSA) advertisements can be a hard thing to successfully “sell”. It’s difficult to be as funny, or wordy or… sexy when preaching the importance of road safety or the like.
To communicate their PSA message, agencies often employ scare-tactics to ‘shock’ people into paying attention. I was watching a couple of road-safety ads here in Australia and, although confronting and shocking, I was left feeling a bit flat with regards to the message of the ad. As far as messages went, all that had been truly communicated to me was that… shit happens. As blunt as that sounds.
Some agencies have acknowledged this and have used different methods of getting the message over the line. McCANN’s train safety campaign ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ springs to mind. I had seen such effective use of mixed-media for PSA that I had all but written-shock campaign strategies. Until I saw the most recent work from BBH London for their campaign for St John’s Ambulance and first-aid awareness.
Brilliant. After I watched this I spent the next hour in complete shock, frantically googling first-aid manuals.
This ad comes from the same pair who produced the chilling Helpless campaign, a silver lion winner at last year’s Cannes.
All I can say about this is that it shows that advertising can be refreshed and re-invigorated with clever production.
I have quite the penchant for the simple. The times where and understated ad is plain yet clever. Free from noise – letting the message be heard loud and clear.
Copywriting guru Luke Sullivan proposed that “the only antidote to clutter is draconian simplicity” (from ‘Hey Whipple, Squeeze This’). I have to agree.
So here are just a couple of ads that I believe have embraced this idea with superb results.
It’s been said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, but how do you get to his stomach? Well according to a recent marketing campaign, the answer is porn.
Advertisers are always fighting to grab the attention of the public to deliver a message. As part of the consumerist culture that developed countries find themselves in, capturing this elusive attention of the frantic masses is challenging and highly competitive.
Welcome EAT24, an American-based online and app-driven food delivery service. The people at EAT24 wanted to promote their company but wanted to perhaps try something new, push the proverbial envelope. When companies come to distributing their ads, the common plan often includes purchasing advertising space on Google, Facebook and Youtube – with good reason (these websites see the most web-traffic). Using these channels though is quite expensive and consumers encounter so many facebook/google ads that they may even be slightly desensitised to them at times (not good!). A quick bit of research revealed that porn websites, perhaps unsurprisingly, see some of the most web traffic too – so why not advertise on them? Well the answer is that, people already do it’s just that the ads are devoted to either male ‘enhancement’ pills or… just… more porn.
EAT24 thought that maybe there was a place for 24-hr food advertising on a porn website. It makes sense – who wouldn’t feel like ordering pepperoni pizza after watching a hunky-dude deliver a similar pizza to an aspiring actress in a nurse costume.
In short, the campaign worked like a charm with EAT24 showing a massive (no enhancement pills required) increase in sales and App downloads almost immediately. Which serves up the question – why haven’t people done this before? Well firstly there is bravery – EAT24 were willing to gamble on it working despite the risk of potential, undesirable associations to be made. Secondly, there is also a knowledge of their market. They weren’t too worried about limiting their market-reach with these ads because their market is already limited – a pretty small number of elderly people are ordering food off their smartphones.
So maybe there is potential to see some *cough* growth in this area for certain companies – I admit that there is likely a 0% chance of this campaign strategy taking off for, say, a dentures company
(although you never know?)