Welcome to the second episode of Beyond the Creative! In each episode, we'll be reverse-engineering and dissecting video ads from around the world to go beyond the creative and dive into what core marketing principles are at play.
- 'Super. Human. | Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games Trailer' from channel 4
- 'Vax, Wax & Chillax' from Coors Light Subscribe to The Remarkable
Jonathan: And would you say, in your opinion, where does Cannes rank in terms of awards?
01.56 - 'Super. Human.'
the Paralympics 2020, but it actually happened in 2021 thanks to covid. This took home the top prize Grand Prix at this year's Cannes Lions. Amazing craft, brilliant brilliant piece of work. I think we should just watch it and roll the VT...
05:13 - What do we think?
between the everyday life challenges that they face through the disabilities that they have, but then the extra level of challenges they have as athletes. You know, that mental grit. This feels very gritty as a piece, you know. It's quite raw, isn't it? In terms of what they've shot.
kind of hearing their struggle as an athlete. And again with marginalized groups, it's so important that we we sort of listen and understand how they see the world. Maybe they see it slightly differently. And if we are not from that group and we're making a film about these athletes that we don't bring our own misconceptions to the party. So you hear the struggle of actually being an athlete and I think the fact that they've taken it to that level is just great. It's a real example that we can we can copy, do you follow me?
Jonathan: Yeah definitely. I think you're right; they're clearly there because they're athletes. That's the reason they've been cast for the piece, that's why they've been selected, because they're some of the best paralympic athletes in in in the UK or Great Britain. I think it's very inspirational. Clearly they're sacrificing their bodies, their families, there's the guy on the bike saying happy birthday on the phone and you know is clearly missing birthdays. I think the key thing is this is much more grounded and earthy and human, and this is building on the previous campaign that channel 4 did which was called We're The Superhumans. That was a lot more glamorous, a lot more upbeat, less gritty, a lot more “we're super inspirational” basically. And so I think it's interesting to see the campaign evolve. It's a very similar concept they've just got more gritty and down to earth with it on this one
Chomoi: And for me it's the difficult balance between being real and doing it every day but then actually raising it up a level and celebrating it. So coming out with an energetic track and I think that's what's really nice about this. It’s grittiness every day and there are ups and downs, and they play the downs a lot into this. You know, you see the bloody tooth and all of these visuals, but then there's a certain kind of upbeatness to it, isn't there. It's like, okay, you can pick yourself up again. You can have a down day — Olympics getting postponed, that's probably a big downer, isn't it? But there's this positivity that isn't saccharine, that has energy. I think that’s the kind of grit and determination that you get from Nike ads. They've done this in a really sensitive but upbeat, punchy way, I think.
Jonathan: Yeah and I think it makes me think differentl. It makes me empathise with the struggles for those with disabilities. And I think those little points like with the cafe, it just brings that home. It makes you think “wow on a daily basis there are these challenges”. It does lead into changing how I think feel and do. We talked about that in the intro… that's a big part of what we're considering when we're trying to make creative. It's changing how people think, which then leads on to how they feel. Emotions and feeling and thoughts all interconnected. And then what you end up doing and behaving like. And I think it definitely raised my empathy level and it's encouraging me… I can feel myself encouraged to look at the disability. It made me less afraid to have a conversation about disability.
Chomoi: There's this other thing that's doing, isn't it? In terms of standing up for marginalized groups and fighting against stigmas, fighting against the way the world is set up for able-bodied people. The line at the end is just great. It's like they continue to kind of push and it's almost like two fingers up at the world that's like fighting them and I think that that spirit… we could have more of that in our work, couldn't we? It's not aggressive but it is a bit like well I am gonna do this.
Jonathan: Yeah and I think it's also it's really great that there's nothing really being sold here well is there? It’s very Purpose Driven, isn't it? It's great content in that perspective and I think that's also why it's easy to love it, because what they're really selling is the celebration of physical achievement in the paralympic games and what goes into getting there. And exposing that journey. But there's no product for sale and I think that's in a way how you know that's wonderful. And I think that's why these campaigns can keep running because it's like it's effectively a story of human achievement and striving to get to a goal, and I think that kind of also leads us nicely into the purpose-led creativity that lots of brands are trying to speak to. I think lots of the awards in Cannes this year were trying to lean into cultural popular culture commentary, and we spoke about that in episode one. So yeah I think that's a bit of a movement, that's a bit of a trend, isn't it? Everyone's trying to lean into this.
Chomoi: Yeah if I remember rightly a few years back there was a bit of a debate raging on the industry magazines around purpose and there was the one school of thought that was saying “advertising is to sell” — you know the David Ogilvy mantra. And then the others saying “you know actually brands can have a view on culture and change things” and so I think now we're seeing people realise that you can have a bit of both.
Jonathan: I think we're going to see more and more of this. I think the challenge is just making sure you're doing it honestly and getting all in there and and doing it not to sell products, because people see through that very quickly.
Chomoi: The thing I wanted to get into as well is marketing as a service. This would be really interesting. For me this is where I think they could actually improve the campaign. When we think “does it make you think different?”, you said yeah. But does it make you behave differently?I think that's where it's a little bit of a grey area for me.
Jonathan: What could they have done to make this even bigger rather than it just being a promotion for the Paralympics? Was there anything else you feel that they could have done to make this even more powerful?
Chomi: So an example I suppose of what they could have done here is… there are all these athletes, and athletes have support, they have fans. Could they have maybe led us onto a fan page and asked us to pledge support somehow? Asked us to take an action? So that's kind of what I meant about marketing as a service. There could have been a user journey where you click on something and then you download an app on your phone. Could they have built a community online through this? Absolutely they could have.
Jonathan: Yeah I agree. I think they could have done that. I think in a way there's a risk that it would have diminished things a bit because it would have complicated the message, so I think there's there's something beautiful about the simplicity of this. It's just entertainment. It does plant a seed, I think it does achieve some changes in thought and I think behavior. I could feel myself changing just watching it. I think it's then the job of us really, what we have to then do is hold on to those conscious moments and try and make them part of our daily routine — try and make them part of our daily pathways of the way that we approach things. And if it's done that in any way then I think it's really winning. I feel like we've moved on to The Human Kind scale now, Chomoi.
Chomoi: So we're pretty sure it's a seven. We talked about craft, didn't we? It’s inspiring as an idea and it's beautifully crafted and I think just hearing what you're saying it feels like an eight. So an eight is changes the way people think and feel and then I guess if it changes behavior then it's creeping into nine territory — changes the way people live changes the way people behave. So yeah my feeling just again listening to you sort of feels like an 8.5.
Jonathan: Could it be a nine? Could it change the way people live? Does it encourage people to get into sport? Because that's the difference isn't it? With with eight you're talking about think. Nine is like… are they going to change the way they behave?
Chomoi: I think definitely it's raised the bar. We're seeing a lot of these real gritty ads coming out with a kind of exciting upbeat track, high production value. I think about Viva La vulva for La Liberace and we can't keep doing these to to stand out. So I'm really intrigued to see what's coming as well.
Jonathan: Me too. I mean it's a it's brilliant campaign evolving wonderfully, can't wait for
the next one.
16:05 - ‘Vax, Wax & Chillax’ - Coors Light
Jonathan: So let's move on to campaign number two which is Vax Wax and Chillax from Coors Light. This one took the bronze, so not quite as a high achievement as the previous campaign. It got a bit of a bad rep, it’ll all make sense in a moment but it basically alienated both the pro-vaccination people of the world and the anti-vax. So it managed to divide people but not necessarily in a good way. It’ll make more sense if we roll the video.
16:42 - What do we think?
Jonathan: Oh God how do you start this one off? This is just weird, isn't it? I think that's what it makes me feel… like weird and slightly awkward. It gives me vibes of like Twin Peaks and retro 80s you know content, or 70s even. But the casting is Awkward the script is weird it's like… oh where are they trying to position this?
Chomoi: Yeah I mean stylistically it's very well done of this genre, and I was just spotting little things like when the guy pulls the pipe up and then the audio kicks in, they purposely left in the fact the audio starts before the pipe reaches his mouth. And then one of the actors is actually looking at the wrong camera. So I get all of that, and it's quite fun trying to spot all of these… engineered mistakes. I think the question mark I have is… as a brand trying to jump on the trend, you know, blatantly own this hot girl summer type thing… they don't actually say hot girl summer but, you know. And own this insight around dating and the fact that everyone was like stuck inside… that's quite smart.
Jonathan: Yeah I think if we dig into some of the insights. I think that's quite important as we kind of try and break this down. So I think there was a thing, particularly in the US I think where it's like on dating apps there would be this expression that I'm I'm vaxed and waxed — as in vaccinated therefore you know you can hang out with other people safely. And then waxed as in prepared you know for uh… I guess intimacy? So I think this was going around and obviously that became the core idea. The chillax bit? I think obviously that's the beer coming in. They obviously put that in the ad, it's like… I'm gonna chillax with a Coors Light. I might be wrong here but it also feels a little bit like it's leaning it's borrowing a little bit from that whole Netflix and Chill phrase that was also flying around for a few years. And it is kind of consistent; they have been a brand that has been really playful and silly. I don't know if you remember some of the other campaigns? There was that one the one that sticks in my head the most actually is the guy swimming up the mountain in the snow to like an apres ski party? And I think that the point there was that Coors Light is even more refreshing than swimming through the snow uphill.
Chomoi: I know what you mean. It's just they're really trying hard to do different, and that's just getting harder and harder. You have to go wilder and wackier and weirder. And I think we’re seeing a bit of that here, aren't we? I mean I do applaud the fact that trying to mix platforms and you could walk into the shop. This is a little film but it does feel a bit like maybe the way it was put together might be shorter little TikToks rather than a big hero film. And then see the actual shop. I'm feeling like a locked off camera shot across the road of the real shop, just like ASMR watching people go in and go out. I kind of want to see the reality of it. But then I do come back to the video. You know, it's ethereal, it feels like a dream. It's kind of done that quite successfully. So yeah for me, just a few too many things that it's actually quite hard to dig into, isn't it?
Jonathan: Yeah what's the intent? Are they trying to sell more Coors Light? They obviously are because it doesn't feel like it's totally Purpose Driven. It's like they're just they're playing on an insight and linking it to the product. And I think that's the bit where it's like… is this just really clever? Am I missing it? Is my small little brain not getting it and it's just a stroke of genius? Clearly they are a brand that embraces humour, they're not taking themselves too seriously. So they're clearly just owning the more playful space of beer, right? It's a lighter beer, lower alcohol, lower calories… they're making it fun. It's not a serious session beer, they're not pretending to be serious. You know, they've been leaning into humor for a long time. It's playful stuff, right? And that's what they're trying to own.
Jonathan: This episode is all about Cannes, right? Award-winning work. And this picked up a bronze. So it’s still being recognized in the community. It was above others because it got the Bronze award, which is an achievement. What do you think? Why do you think that they why did it pick up a bronze? What were the elements that you think it did well?
Chomoi: Ueah I think you look at it and you go “well that's different, that doesn't look like a normal beer advert”, so from that point of view… this sort of creative bravery… there's a cleverness about jumping on a hashtag, right? So there's that. And you know, being relevant to what's happening in culture, you go “tick”. Stylistically from an art direction point of view, it's really on point. The soft jazz I sort of just have it playing in my head at the end there. All of the kind of like quirky weirdness? It does that quite well doesn't it.
Jonathan: Yeah for what it is I think it does it really well. I think obviously we spent quite a lot of the time like “is it working? Does it work?” and trying to dissect it, but actually for what it is, it's very well executed. It's just we're seeing it as divisive, but the concept itself they've owned it haven't they? I mean they've really owned the concept, they've executed it really well. They've built on chillax, vax, rhymed. You know, it's really well thought through and it is well executed. I think what we've been getting caught up on is… does it work? If we think about how it changes behavior… is it getting them to take an action? We talk about this show being about dissecting things and trying to understand them and the mechanics of how they work and getting people to change how they think feel and do. I don't know if it achieved that.
Chomoi: Do you know at the beginning of this I actually kind of struggled with the setup I've got to submit because you know I was just wondering you know whether I got it… I couldn't figure it out but now I'm kind of like I'm kind of sold. I think just listening to what you're saying
as well, you know… I'm kind of like, oh yeah I kind of quite like this ad.
24:59 - The Human Kind Scale
Jonathan: Okay so how do we feel? We like to bring things back to The Human Kind Scale — that's the kind of scale that we use for judging creative. Where do you think this sits on the scale? It obviously goes from one to ten, with 10 being change the world and one being it's a destructive idea. Where where is it sitting for you?
Chomoi: It's a tricky one because I think there's some inspirational qualities here. But at the same time I know that what the brand stood for when they ran the ad they were saying get you know get faxed and all of it get waxed and chillax. So you know you kind of get what the brand stands for you get their purpose. Is it intelligent? So I'm floating around five six and seven and I'm probably gonna go with five because I don't think it passes the intelligence test.
Jonathan: I think that's pretty fair. This scale is tough, right? We say it. I mean I almost want to repeat this every episode. This is a tough scale, right? So five is actually a really good score. Obviously we know we've got the Bronze award, so it's a more incredible campaign and more incredible piece of work. I think I'm just reminding myself of their of the purpose and I think there's an article here that I was looking at earlier that Coors Light’s aim is that it's a brand that champions and creates the most refreshing moments in culture. Is it leaning into one of those with this? All there others all their other ads I can see how how it how that works in terms of the Brand's purpose right is this one of the most refreshing moments in culture I think this is an outlier and therefore it's not really communicating the Brand's purpose. It's really hard to juxtapose vaccinations waxing and a beer and think “yeah this is one of the most refreshing moments in culture”. It simply isn't and I think it's and for that reason I think it's a bit of an outlier and therefore I'm gonna mark it down a bit on the human kind scale. Respect for them to get in the bronze, don't disagree with that. But I would say I put it down as a four, I don't really know what the brand stands for properly with this ad.
27:09 - Wrapping up
Jonathan: We should probably start to wrap up because we've been having a great chat but good things must come to an end. We're introducing a new wrap up now, this is episode two, we're gonna be learning as we go. But I think takeaways are important, we definitely want to be leaning into the principles and the things that we're discussing each week. And a bit of a summary of what we think these these different campaigns have lent into in terms of principles, and what they've achieved. What's been great? What are the takeaways? What are the things that they both did well? And what I've been thinking about as we've been talking is that they're both very topical, they're both leaning into popular cultures, the Zeitgeist of the moment. With with Channel 4's being about the paralympic games an event that was coming up, and Coors obviously jumping on that that hashtag.
Chomoi: Yeah I think that's part of it isn't it being relevant being topical jumping on a cultural conversation. If you can write a hashtag for it or if it links to an existing hashtag that's kind of powerful for a brand. For me the big takeaway is purpose has evolved it's got more sophisticated and it's less of a question of “should we do Purpose Driven ads?”, it's more like it's a tool in the toolbox. And then it's how well you do it or how far you go down that that route. And it's just nice to see purpose isn't it.
Jonathan: I think that's the trend we're seeing, right? That it's not a question of “should you?”, it's “yes, yes you need to”. You need to lean into that. People want that, but you need to do it all the way and I think ‘Super. Human.” did that.
Chomoi: The other one I put down was about disruption. It just it comes out screaming to me. Being disruptive as a brand and being a disruptive advertiser is just getting harder and harder. So that again makes me think… actually is disruption really the only way to stand out? Because I don't know where that ends, it's like a space race.
Jonathan: Yeah that's interesting. So I'd written down “shock factor”. Certainly ‘Super. Human.’ was in parts shocking and captivating because they were showing that rawness of things. That kept me hooked. And I think there's always going to be room to shock, right? That’s what gets attention, that's what cuts through the noise. Bland doesn't cut it.
Jonathan: It's been great digging into these. Thanks for listening, thanks for giving us your time, we hope you've found some nugget to take away from today and it's over and out from me.
Chomoi: Nice, I've enjoyed it. See you next time.
Jonathan: Beyond the Creative is the first show of the remarkable Channel. If you want to know when the next episode of Beyond the Creative is out (or for any other future shows for that matter) you can head over to the remarkablechannel.tv and choose your favourite way to subscribe — whether that's audio or video.
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