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