Branding and the Future of Advertising (a new rule)

See this wonderful ad from Haagen-Dazs and Goodby, Silverstein:

It suggests two things, I think, about branding and the future of advertising.

1. That we are now prepared to give the viewer a little credit.

Note that the brand and the agency are prepared to go with a foreign language.
And you can imagine how difficult this conversation would have been just 10 years ago. To trust anything to subtitles! To slow the ad! To turn the viewer into a reader! Unthinkable! Quite enough to make you want to throw a piece of crockery! AND POSSIBLY START YELLING AT SOMEONE!

There may once have been a time when the ad world treated the consumer is a dolt, a moron, an idiot but those days have passed. Or in the Cluetrain era, they are passing. 

2. That we should be able to give the viewer more and more credit.

Some day, the brand and the agency will be brave enough to go without subtitles.
Have another look at the ad and put a post-it over the subtitles. The emotional power of the scene is undiminished. Indeed, it’s more powerful because we don’t have to take our eyes off these beautiful people, this splendid acting, and this moment of delicious outrage.

I will grant you this much.  Without subtitles, we would miss two really wonderful lines from the actress: 1. “Isn’t it your turn to apologize to me?” and 2. “You shouldn’t yell at me!” (This from someone who is prepared to turn “honey, I’m home” into World War III.)

Subtitles give the viewer quite a lot of work to do. Giving them no subtitles would give them still more work to do. With no subtitles, we can I think guarantee 5 or 6 viewings.

Plus, I think we could assume that many people would take to the internet to look for a translation. And assuming they end up at a Haagen Dazs website, we have another brandable moment and our ad will have gone transmedia, a very good thing.   Everyone is now a googling machine.

The two assertions come back together again in what is perhaps a new rule for the ad world.

The more credit and work we give the viewer, the more engagement, meaning and value they will give the brand.

Tip of the hat to the people responsible for this splendid work:

Ad Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners and Client Häagen-Dazs
Brand Manager at Haagen-Dazs: Cady Behles

Creative Department
Co-Chairman / Partner: Rich Silverstein
Associate Creative Director/ Copywriter: Will Elliott
Senior Art Director: Patrick Knowlton

Production Department
Director of Broadcast Production/Associate Partner: Cindy Fluitt
Broadcast Producer: Melissa Nagy

Account Services Department
Group Account Director: Leslie Barrett
Account Director: Erin Fromherz
Account Manager: Kristen Baker
Assistant Account Manager: Lacy Borko

Brand and Communication Strategy
Group Brand Strategy Director: Kelly Evans-Pfeifer
Senior Brand Strategist: Molly Cabe

Business Affairs
Business Affairs Manager: Mary Marhula

Outside Vendors
Production Company: H.S.I. / Person Films
Director: Michael Haussman
Director of Photography: Paolo Caimi
Executive Producers: Cecile Leroy, Michael McQuhae
Line Producer: Gianluca Leurini
Editing House: Union Editorial
Editor: Marco Perez
Assistant Editors: Nellie Phillips, Francesca Vassallo, Jedidiah Stuber
President / Executive Producer: Michael Raimondi
Executive Producer: Caryn Maclean
Producer: Sara Mills

2 thoughts on “Branding and the Future of Advertising (a new rule)

  1. Scott Lukas

    Grant, good timing on this. Just saw the ad on TV and your post intersects with a discussion today from my religion course. I have often thought that brands could become different sorts of mediators than they have been in the past. Brands clearly make their “lovemarks” on us, play significant roles in our social lives, and provide us with powerful emotion and sensory connections with the world. They are mediators of our lives, but I think that how they mediate (needs to change?) is changing. A student mentioned in my class that religion has begun a certain shift in terms of relevance—redefining its traditional role in our lives. I believe that brands are shifting in a similar sense. With the gelato ad…I wondered how this brand message would play out if the couple were less play-fighting and actually had a real fight as couples do. A sort of interpersonal realist message? Perhaps as it plays in the commercial it leans a bit to the traditional side of the brand-as-mediator as solution. Opposed to this would be the idea of a brand that gets dialogue started. I’m doing a section in a class today on the uses of irony in commercial spaces and this is one example of a way in which the brand begins the dialogue—irony typically draws attention to categories themselves and requires the actor/consumer become more aware of the field in which the irony is occurring. In this sense, I’d like to see brands engaging more not just with irony but with uncomfortable and potentially unexplored avenues of life. The brand-as-mediator in this way acts through modes of the “middle voice,” not the direct voice (I will help/fix you), or the passive voice (I can help you find the solution). The middle voice suggests that we and the brand are co-actors in the same primordial consumer soup…

  2. GoMad ideas

    It is really important what shown in the ad is what is delivered to the customer as the final products.Else customer will loose faith in the ads if they have a bitter experience in real.
    Advertisement plays an important role in creating brand image and its upto the company to keep up that image in the minds of customers.

    Thank You,

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