chewing over the problem with snakes

Many years ago I used to work with a young lady who was terrified of snakes.

Her affliction was so bad that her Mum used to buy the Radio Times every week and she would search out any and all potential danger areas and make a note in red next to the programme, making sure to avoid it when spending the evening watching TV with her daughter.

A few years after that I worked in a company which was airing  a TV ad that caused so much distress to a member of the general public that the Communications team had to advise the individual concerned when the ad was airing so that the channel / ad break could be avoided.  In this case the brand reacted very responsibly, largely down to the good nature of the team.  The ad itself was rather innocuous but it had strong resonance to an event in the personal life of the individual concerned.

Extreme examples perhaps, my personal favourite amongst the more extreme phobias is decidophobia a fear of making decisions.  I have worked alongside a number of people over the years who had that.

I don’t think they realised they had that phobia, but I recognised it !

According to an, albeit old, Harris Interactive Fear Survey as many as 22% of men and 49% of women have some limited fear of snakes.  Irrational it may be – I am not a big fan myself , but I have never been attacked by one and have only ever seen them behind glass in a zoo.

So, based on these somewhat homespun insights I found myself marvelling at the bravery of Airwaves chewing gum’s new TV ad.

The genius of it I guess is in the humour and playfulness following quite some intense romantic suggestiveness and the transposition of my stats … it is the young man who runs away.

It is a nice piece of cinema with a very crunchy ending.  My favourite aspect is not the forlorn look on the young lady’s face but the swirling mint aroma on the end frame – it reminds me of a snake !!

Anyway, it’s a nicely filmed ad, but a brave one, best of all it is genuinely funny and it is genuinely memorable.  The Facebook UK site has mixed set of comments, some are reminiscent of the reaction of the young lady I worked with which cannot help, but think about how the recent Marmite ‘neglect’ TV ad  swept the awards boards !

There are a few funny posts on Facebook, but the ‘likes’ are quite low for a nationally aired ad and comments have been disabled on You Tube.  This suggests a brand that likes its ad, but is cautious of reaction.  In which case why air it?

I like brave advertising, but I’m frankly not sure that Airwaves like their own brave ad.  It is nevertheless well filmed with a great backing track by INXS, memorable and funny.  I hope it helps the brand as there are many ads that tick none of those boxes at all !

17 Aug 2014


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