If part of your job is being seeking out and reading about news brand advertising on a daily basis, you know as well as I do that the bar being set by brands and agencies is edging higher all the time.
For some advertisers, it’s no longer enough simply to present their product or service to readers. This is especially the case when competitors and non-competitors alike are speaking to consumers in spaces where they’re primed to listen and interact with them. Finding an edge in such quality advertising space is key.
This is where the power of creativity enters the equation.
As Porter Novelli’s director of brand growth, Jon Shaw, wrote last week for The Drum, UK consumers are known for needing “wooing” with campaigns that tap into their cultural awareness and match product with purpose. Devising creative solutions that embrace these needs can really help a campaign stand out among the pack.
Here are some of my favourite recent campaigns that put a premium on creativity, wit, and a cheeky bit of humour to start conversations with readers.
Breast cancer is an issue we should all be concerned about, not least of all because it can affect any person with any body type. But how can an organisation raise awareness in a new, eye-catching way that subverts readers’ sometimes desensitised expectations of what a campaign about cancer awareness should look like?
Enter CoppaFeel!, which uses topographical maps to create a sense of readers’ bodies as terrain to navigate and equip them with knowledge for their long journey of life ahead. With this brilliant campaign, the charity approaches cancer awareness in an original way, avoiding heavy emotional themes that might make us want to turn the page while providing a sense of adventure about looking after ourselves.
In a similar vein, how can advertisers align themselves with good causes in a way that is authentic to their brand but also attractive to readers?
Matching product with purpose, Speedo’s support of mental health issues ticks both boxes by suggesting something bound to make readers take notice. Saluting those courageous enough to brave biting cold January waters to keep their mental health in check, the swimwear manufacturer challenges readers to create a strong community found in both numbers and waves.
If you were marketing a new tomato Bolognese sauce, you could launch campaigns leaning into its unbeatable taste, its natural ingredients, or the sense of togetherness a heart-warming bowl of spaghetti Bolognese can bring to a family dinner. But when you’re Heinz, famous the world over for a certain tomato-based condiment, you can’t take the easy route.
Imagining readers’ reactions upon seeing its brand-new sauce, Heinz’s ad leads with the ridiculous situation that a company so renowned for tomatoes has taken 150 years to come up with Bolognese sauce. It even goes as far as apologising to its founder for not living up to his legacy of being forward-thinking.
But with effortlessly engaging creative like this (harking back to the classic Volkswagen ads of the 1960s), perhaps it’s a case of better late than never?
For the nation’s supermarkets, news brand advertising is part of its bread and butter as readers regularly keep up to speed with the latest deals on their grocery shopping. But when supermarket campaigns are such a staple, how can a chain stand out?
Step forward, Tesco. Not content merely to announce the price match it claims on its competitor, the supermarket cheekily adds puzzles readers can complete in the time they’ve saved by not having to go elsewhere.
This included a partnership with the Daily Mirror in which red peppers were hidden across the entire January edition of the daily newspaper, with readers given the chance to win a £100 Tesco voucher once they’d found them all. Let the pepper hunt commence!