Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Selling technology

These two videos are ads selling the services of tech companies, and are currently in heavy rotation on New Zealand television screens. The first ad shows use of the technology in a new way, while the second ad takes a very different approach. Both work very well.

The ad up top is promoting international roaming cellphone service, and how relatively inexpensive it is (a longer version is on YouTube). This ad takes what has become a cliché—the bucket list—and presents a twist: A young woman engages in the things on an old man’s bucket list, ending with a reunion. The man is able to share it all thanks to the roaming services of the cellphone provider.

This ad works because the visuals and story are compelling, and the music track (“All We Are” by Jonah [WATCH]) works to help tie it all together. The music moves steadily forward, yet has a wistful sound and feel. There’s one more thing about the ad: The use of the company’s technology is the point, of course, but the young woman is doing mainly conventional things that she just shares using this technology—and shares with the old man, not on social media. If it’s possible to be “old school” and current at the same time, then this is it.

The next ad is selling broadband internet:

What makes this ad so interesting is that it sells technology by NOT using the company’s product—by turning it off, in fact. The “family” in the ad has featured in a series of ads from the company, and in this one the dad gets his kids to come to the dinner table by turning off the router. It’s kind of funny, clearly lighthearted, and very gently plays off a currently popular cliché, that people need to turn off their technology, especially for family time like dinner together. The ad plays off the cliché, but doesn’t pander to it, either. It actually kind of plays with the cliché.

Still, it’s not every day that an ad sells use of a company’s services by showing the subjects of the ad turning off the company’s services. That’s definitely an interesting, and pretty unique, approach.

I have no idea whether these two ads are truly effective, as measured by increased sales. But they’re interesting and didn’t make me want to rip my eyeballs out after seeing them ten or twenty times, so they’re certainly successful in that sense. I like them both.

The ads I personally respond to the most are ones that include the elements displayed in these two ads combined: A little quirkiness, good visuals, an identifiable story, appropriate music, and either humour or a bit of heartstring-pulling (it’s difficult to include both of those in the same ad). I seldom see ads that check all the boxes, and it’s not often that even most of them get checked. But both these ads are only 30 seconds long, and that probably helps.

At any rate, both ads work well.

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