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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog archive > 28-Oct-05


Friday 28-Oct-05

Soft drinks adverts -- bad and good

I went to the movies last night. Josh Whedon's Serenity. The movie was fun, but the adverts were more interesting (sad, isn't it). Two ads in particular, both for soft drinks, highlighted how close success and failure can be. Both are based on a great idea. One blows it, whilst the other aces it.

Lipton Ice

Lipton is a strange thing. When you go overseas from the UK, the only tea you get in many places is Lipton's. Yet, curiously, you hardly see it over here, where brands like PG Tips, Tetley's and Twining's are dominant. This makes selling here a bit harder for Lipton's. Of recent years, they've been focusing on the soft drinks market, pushing Lipton Ice (bottled cold tea). This is still not easy as the Brits don't drink much iced tea.

So they've gone for the theme of 'do something you wouldn't normally do'. Seems like a good idea.

The way they have gone about this is to show people doing slightly shocking things that people wouldn't normally do. For example one is 'wear Spandex', with a scene of a guy in a leopard-skin print full-body spandex outfit, with a very low cut front. People look at him in amazement. He just looks like he's having fun.

So far, so good.

The problems come in the final scenario. A group of people are in an elevator when somebody farts. Noses are wrinkled. One young lady just smiles and holds up her hand. 'Yes, it was me' she admits. Again, the theme of breaking social rules and doing what you wouldn't normally do.

The final scene is back to the product, with the repeated message of 'do something different'.

But think of what happens here. Somebody farts. The power of the mind is such that just thinking about it evokes re-experiencing of very nasty smells. And the next thing you see is the product -- and to make matters worse, it's something you consume. So at the same time you're asked to think about the great taste of Lipton Ice -- and all you have in your mouth is the acrid taste of somebody else's fart.

Good plan, shame about the execution.

Red bull

Just after the Lipton Ice episode, a curious cartoon started. It wasn't clear what the product was, so I kept watching. There was a large white bitch looking over a litter of puppies which were white and brown. Then a very small brown dog saunters slowly past, greeting the bitch and puppies as he does.

A can of Red Bull (a highly caffeinated soft drink) comes into view and the dog walks up to it and smiles. Now, if you know the Red Bull catch-phrase, you've got the joke. For those who haven't got it, the catch-phrase is repeated: 'Red Bull gives you wings'. The dog grows wings and starts fluttering upwards.

Beautiful. There's the suspense of a joke that starts with engaging mystery and ends with surprising humor. And the product is strongly associated with the punch-line. So you have fun and get a subtle suggestion that Red Bull makes you sexy as well as filling you with so much caffeine you feel you can fly.

Good plan, brilliant execution.

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