Thursday, January 21, 2021

Can we stop the advertising "stunts"?

Barilla just announced its latest gimmick, a Spotify playlist long enough for your pasta to boil. How cool is that? 

Actually, not cool. Am sick of advertising stunts. When I read the winners of this year's Epica Awards where I am a juror, I immediately sent an email to the team there saying "this is the year of the stunts" (thankfully, the campaign that swept the board - Burger King and their Moldy Whopper were indeed a clever mix of everything: Your usual TVC, the "classic" billboard, and the correct activation). 

But honestly, one more Federer-surprising-girls-who-played-tennis-on-their-rooftops-during-lockdown stunt (wait, that was Barilla too!) or any of those other very pointed, really short-life, advertising acts and I am going to blow. Look, all those brands who inserted themselves in Animal Crossing are really fine and dandy, but how enduring and endearing is that is beyond me.

At least we went beyond the "we invited 5 influencers to a restaurant while their mothers, unknowingly to them, cooked in the kitchen" idiocies which were flooding us. Or that Kiehl's campaign about people with hearing disabilities (of which I am one) which still makes me cringe. 

But still, I am totally, completely, irrevocably beyond stunts. 

Before you say that I live in a different world or come from a different era, let me tell you I am still enamored, several years later with The Next Rembrandt - but Tarek wasn't that a "stunt"? No, that was a perfect marriage between data, AI, an incredible questioning between human talent and the possibilities offered to us by technology, algorithms meeting natural born talents and the list goes on.

But again, stunts and silly "activations" bore me and the brands playing "hip" all the way is also cringe-worthy. For everyone of those "let's try to be hip" efforts, I can only counter with what Mercedes did on their Women's Day effort in 2019 (that glorious classic "Bertha Benz" ad). Or, wait, I can also point out to that immortal ad by Norwegian Airlines "Brad is single".

Before you start to say that was a stunt. No it was not. Sure it was issued on the day the world knew about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's split, but the ad gained a life of its own - it was totally, stratospherically viral, but also spawned its own niche ads for brands trying either to completely duplicate it or copy it or twist it.