Wait, that’s a commercial for what?!

Some commercials can seriously leave you scratching your head. “..what?” or“wait, that was a commercial for what?”  It’s funny when this happens. If brands aren’t actually selling their product or service in the little time they have our attention, what are they doing? Are they telling a story? Are they selling a feeling? Do they make an emotional connection with us? Or do they drop the ball and become lost in the digital noise? If they play their cards right, these kinds of commercials can certainly get consumers buzzing about them.

Looking back at previous posts, I’d just like to comment that I seem to gravitate towards the TV-spots that trigger a more sentimental emotion:

They were profound enough for me to write about and share, right??


Let’s take a look at a few more recent advertisements that aren’t so literal, where we don’t see the product, at least in the body of the commercial:


Calvin Klein: Endless Euphoria

Perfume/cologne ads seem to always fit into the not-so-literal category. Since you can’t have smellovision, brands have to create a different kind of draw. So why not have a beautiful model wandering about a fairytale meadow with a her sexy mate? The music score creates an epicness that enthralls passion and longing between the two. The fragrance is described as “a floral perfume with top notes of cherry blossom, mandarin and bergamot” however we wouldn’t know that just by watching this ad. We wouldn’t even really know if it were selling a fragrance other than the fact the bottle is presented to us at the end with a voiceover telling us about it. What is the brand positioning statement here? This might be more literal due to the naming. How about “Aromatic-Euphoria for All”?

Sprint: Framily Portrait

This ad is like the opening credits of something. We meet the “cast” but realize each member is part of this family, a quirky, non-traditional family for sure. The young girl is playing an acapella version of a “classic heavy metal rock ballad” that brings a sense of endearment to the audience. Each individual is shown in an environment that truly exhibits their personality. Is it a commercial for a new sitcom? No! It’s an ad for Sprints’ new data plan of course! The spot ends with Friends + Family = Framily. A simpler brand positioning statement could be “Connecting Everyone”.

Mutual of Omaha: Warren’s Aha moment

Warren tells his story of a moment that inspired him. This sort of strategy is unexpected from the regular pace of television commercials. It’s Warren’s story, that’s it. It’s almost like he is suddenly in your family room telling you the story. The ad is a pattern interrupt. He tells a heartbreaking story of how he and his daughter realized a young girl’s misfortune of never owning a book in her life. He was inspired by this moment to get more books to kids in his town. He never once speaks about how a financial organization, like Mutual of Omaha helped him. A brand positioning statement for this ad could be “Sharing the wealth”.


What do you think? Coming up with a brand positioning statement with as little words as possible is not easy. I welcome any suggestions!


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