I remember the first ad I really loved. Thousands of coloured bouncy balls bounced down a San Francisco street. They bounced off cars and windows, with the cityscape standing proudly in the background. The colours were luminescent and lit up the sky. José González’s cover of Heartbeats was the perfect accompaniment to the visual. And then, it ended, with the perfect tagline ‘Colour… like no other’. The ad was for a Sony TV.
I was in awe. It was enthralling that a story of colour had been told in such a significant, beguiling and simple way. I realised at this point that ads weren’t just really fast selling points being yelled at me through the TV, but they were a chance to tell a story in 30, 60 or 90 seconds. It pushed storytellers to tell an entire plot in a tiny window.
Perhaps to a TikTok generation this isn’t seen as a feat of any kind, but it is. Ads have to be tied to a brand or a product, they have to resonate with the audience, and hit key demographics. They have to be beautiful or funny or irreverent. If they’re not sexy then they should be entertaining. Or both. Or even emotional.
Ads are also universally hated.
Perhaps the hardest road block of them all is that people hate ads. They’re the time in a TV show when you nip off to make a cuppa. YouTube gives you the chance to skip ads. You can download ad blockers. Ads are bitched about as being irritating, louder than the TV program or completely missing the point.
That’s why when an ad resonates it’s an incredible achievement. It can cut through all the noise, targeted marketing and advertising that you’re exposed to every day and leave you with a