Advertising trends come and go over time, but one trend, certainly in TV advertising terms, seems to be sticking around and in some cases becoming quite brave.
I call it ‘Lifestyle’.
Creative agencies may call it real life, and for a different generation this is a 21st Century version of kitchen sink melodrama. It’s more complex than it sounds, I mean it feels obvious doesn’t it, that if you reflect real life then it shows your brand as empathetic, but that’s a hard trick to pull off in broadcast media. It has to be ‘average’ enough to not polarize I imagine.
The most common manifestation is an everyday life scene, but I have had a bit of fun with my top ten and stretched that a bit:
10. Homepride Fred
“Fred about the house” is the ad title and it is indeed a slice of just that. There is no first person commentary here, and that style is evident again in this list. Other factors that make this work: The actors are all attractively engaging and not too perfect, the humour works; it’s wry and gentle and just racy enough.
Bringing back Fred as a real life hero seems not to jar (sorry I could resist the pun). Nice ad.
As you know I have a fondness for the Co-op having worked on the brand (still no heritage story play by the way !) “Here for you for life” never really resonated for me but this ad really does. It’s entitled ‘Easter made easy’ and that plays nicely into the local co-op positioning for last-minute, low basket value, shopping.
As in many of these Lifestyle ads the hero’s are children and good they are in this ad. The nice thing for me about the ad though is the normal housing, this is clearly not ‘Waitrose-land’ and the ad works better for it.
Again minimal first person narrative makes this feel unhurried and engaging
08. Sky Movies on demand
This is a beautifully shot short film in my view, I forget it’s an advert, the production values are so very high. It uses the diversity of families in 2015 to make a point about there being a movie for everyone.
Its brave and smart and knowing and the art direction is beautiful. And I don’t even subscribe to Sky anymore !
07. KFC Burritos
A love story in 30 seconds. The Troggs soundtrack rocks this ad along, but what makes it work is the ‘average girl/boy next door’ looks, the normalcy of the setting: Office life, lunch in the sun, boy meets girl, rain, romance. A truly lovely little ad in a category that needs a little inspiration to go beyond the ‘burger as superhero’ fodder that usually airs on our TVs and cinema screens.
By now you will have noticed the filming techniques common in this genre: not too sharp, feathered photography, panning shots from a relatively static camera and no ostentatious glamour. This really is a very nice ad.
06. KFC 50 years – Adoption ad
Can KFC better that ad, you bet they can, this is a love story in a minute, and of a different kind. This is brave ad. It could tip into mawkishness very easily but because it’s portrayed as a normal slice of life, of growing up, it doesn’t. The normal house, the normal bedroom, the light pastel colours, then the music picks up pace as the boy grows … and conversation in the background – no talking to the audience. Lovely work.
It has attracted degree of cynicism, but as an ad it says more about how the brand wants to you to feel than any number of ads that are making a hero of the KFC product itself.
05. Be Lungworm aware
Ok this is niche, but it is a brilliant little slice of family life. I like it because it is unexpected.
it’s an ad funded by a drug company but has at its heart a desire to educate. To do that and break through in a noisy marketplace it needs to resonate.
Whatever the reality of pet ownership is, this ad portrays it as we would like it to be. The family is engaged, attractive and interested in each other and the dog. The filming is atmospheric, pastel shades and sunny. The end frames are therefore very effective, as the delivery of the final message hits home hard. I like this ad a lot.
04. Cathedral City Come Home
This only makes my top ten because the start is so good. The second half of the ad uses the product as hero, so I’m stretching a point. I’ve included it because it ticks a number of lifestyle ad boxes:
- Children as hero’s / spokespersons
- Multi generational family scenario
- Realistic photography with muted colours
- Great soundtrack
- Camera work that is largely static but pans and crops
03. Birds Eye ‘The Proposal”
Used to relaunch the brand this is a very brave ad in my view. It relies solely on making the frozen food look natural as the hero. The family are present and you can hear them in a good strong funny voiceover, but the ad gives the main voice to the food.
It’s realistic whilst being unrealistic at the same time. That said the delivery of “no” is genuinely funny at 26s in. The accents are important in the delivery too. Nicely cast and nicely imagined. Brave form Birds Eye I think.
02. Coleman’s Meal Kits
I have used the word brave a few times in this post. This ad is the bravest though. It is so easy to get this wrong. Coleman’s have pulled this family melodrama off really well in my view. Have a watch and see for yourself. I think it’s great that brands and Ad Agencies are now accepting that families in the UK are very different form the cosy Oxo family ideal of Mum dad and 2 children.
Excellent work Coleman’s and this builds on the excellent Shepherds pie ad from 2014.
In itself that was a step outside the category norm as you can see.
Well this is my family life !
My top ten is:
10 Homepride Fred
09 Co-operative Food
08 Sky Movies on Demand
07 KFC Burritos
06 KFC 50 Years celebration
05 Be Lungworm aware
04 Cathedral City Cheese
03 Birds Eye
02 Coleman’s meal kits
21 May 2015