October 12, 2012

Ads for Copywriters

As a copywriter, I watch ads a little differently than someone who’s not in the advertising industry. For example, I LOVE football, but unless one of my teams has skin in the Superbowl matchup, I look forward to the ads just as much, if not more, than the game. And, considering that my team is the San Diego Chargers, every year I look forward to the ads more than the matchup 🙂 There are two ads running on TV right now that I particularly like because of their quality and effectiveness. One of them is actually playing a role in changing my thinking about the product it pitches.

#1 – “The Next Big Thing is Already Here” (Samsung Galaxy S3)

Someone had to write the dialogue in this ad; there’s a lot of it, and it’s good. I may be particularly interested in this ad because I am thinking of buying an iPhone 5 in January. I have a MacBook Pro so getting an iPhone seemed automatic until I began reading about users’ dissatisfaction with the maps app on the phone and realized that Apple’s new sharing features through iCloud won’t work on my computer because it’s “too old” (I bought the machine about two years ago). These developments have soured my opinion of Apple somewhat because I am definitely NOT the type who feels the need to go out and buy the latest device; quite the contrary. When I purchase something expensive, I keep it for as long as I can.  So, Samsung played its commercial for the Galaxy S3 at just the right time for me. It touched on all of my pain points in a funny, sarcastic, and smart way. I’ve seen it more times than I can count and it still entertains me.

#2 – It’s Not the Miles, It’s How You Live Them (Volkswagen)

I LOVE this ad. So much so, that I even told a friend about it. In contrast to the Samsung Galaxy S3 ad, this Volkswagen ad features light copy. Laughing your way through life. Then, the reveal at the end is a white screen of beauty with a simple, strong, emotive tagline – “It’s not the miles, it’s how you live them.” Implied is the idea that life is happier, or at least time spent in the car is happier with a Volkswagen. For a split second, it almost made me want to buy a Volkswagen 🙂 Granted, it’s hard not to score a victory with a commercial when you start out with a smiling baby (think Jimmy Fallon’s Capitol One spots) but this commercial has me from the beginning. Admittedly, I do have three kids under five at home, included an 8 month old, so it may connect with me faster than others, but it works.

Both of these commercials made me think and were a delight to watch. When I look back at where advertising began, I have to argue that overall, we’ve gotten much better at what we do. Ads are more subtle, and entertaining, today. I don’t know about you, but I still prefer to watch my commercials in between my shows rather than be subjected to scenes crafted for them (i.e. grill shots in cop dramas or Sprint scenes in Fringe). Granted, I wrote my master’s thesis about product placement so I may be more sensitive to it than others, but I’d rather not have the creative content of my favorite shows influenced so directly by the brands that pay to keep them on the air.

Until ads get so comingled with content that we can’t tell the difference, I’ll keep paying distracted attention to the content in between the content and enjoying it.

What is your favorite ad on the air right now?

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