WowMe: Making the Season Bright, Brighter, BRIGHTEST…

Mr Pete turns his perceptive eyes to some merry and bright holiday ads gracing the airwaves. Enjoy! -editor

For many retail companies, holiday advertising is considered a blessing AND a curse. There is a desire to remain artistic while capturing the “Magic of the Season”. They must intrigue the viewers imagination, mixing elements of sentimentalism, marketability and being memorable. (i.e. “What does Dad want? Well, he laughed at that ad where Santa rides over the hills on an electric razor, so perhaps…”).

All this must be created under budget and within a limited running time. Big time productions alone can eat up most of the budget (with a risk of having NO money left for a REDO if an ad test markets poorly). Also, too lengthy an ad or too artistic, can lead to the risk of not properly showcasing the product or service that you are trying convince people to buy.

”I really like that ad, but I forget what they were selling…

[Note: Oftentimes the case with Super Bowl ads.]

While some companies like to indulge themselves with big productions, longer ads (>30 sec) soak up more of the budget buying additional airtime. IMHO, there seems to be a special skill set in creating a short (under a minute) memorable ad, that can be showcased repeatedly, hopefully during prime time without losing the audience.

How to Proceed?

If you are a big company (big brand name), you can probably afford the “stick to the wall” approach**.

**old college trick when cooking spaghetti.

APPLE and AMAZON are two such companies.

With Amazon their ad is about a service. You should buy from them because of their selection, and the speed they can get the product to you. These elements help with the presentation of your gift and hopefully a desired emotional response from those whom you are gifting.

Note: It helps if you have a ton of money to secure the rights to a classic oldies song to drive retention.

Amazon’s “Joy Ride” is delightful and it checks all the boxes.

Let’s see:

  • Nostalgia: CHECK
  • Sentimental: CHECK
  • Product in Stock/Speed of Delivery: CHECK
  • Desired Emotional Reaction: CHECK
  • Under a Minute (making a clear point and for repetition) CHECK
  • Using a Popular Song (instrumental version of the BEATLES “In My Life”) CHECK

Sure enough, in my head, my soul is singing, “I Loved Them All.”

Apple via Verizon…

In Apple’s case, they are showcasing their latest version of the iPhone (the 15 Pro), which this year is made out of Titanium (think golf clubs says my editor). By highlighting this in their ads, Apple is trying to develop a sense of desirability. If My Dad was still alive to see this ad he would remark something like, “Why replace something when it wasn’t broken anyway?”. Good point as always.

These Verizon Apple ads that feature the actors Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”) and Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”/ “Ozark” ) were a real turn-off for me.

To start, the actors talked way too fast.

I believe in an effort to develop a hyper-sense of desirability for the product/service. The ad is trying to convey a product (iPhone 15 Pro) with a service (availability at a wireless service provider). However, I found the rush presentation to be obnoxious. And besides…

  • Who crashes a children’s birthday party to raid the gifts?
  • Why would someone be gifting the newest iPhone (SRP starting at $999) to a child?

[Note: A little confusing, but the party crasher was stealing “wishes” from blowing out the candles.-ed]

Finally I thought Sean Hayes/Jason Bateman were looking kinda sad with their over-acting, but maybe that was supposed to be humorous. I just didn’t find this ad funny or compelling.

See for yourself:

Apple for/by Itself…

Apple, being one of the largest companies in the world, has a sizable bank account to create several ads for different markets, and for different customer bases. This first ad appeals to artists, who would use the latest version of the iPhone to create a work that showcases their skill set/talent.

  • We see WHAT inspires the artist to create.
  • We see the artist struggle to balance work life with leisure life.
  • We see what [iPhone] features the artist has available to help them with the creation of their work.

Fuzzy Feelings | Apple Holiday Film
TRT: 3:55 (call it 4-min)

So the desirability of the product here is NOT to be the ENVY among your friends…

Apple is driving, dare I say, pragmatism: The iPhone’s features will help an artist with the creative process of bringing ideas to life.

[Note: And let’s face it, that $999 starting point is easier to swallow when it is a tool for productivity, right?—ed]

There’s a followup video — a “Making Of” production —that demonstrates how this iPhone takes an active role in fulfilling the artist’s vision.

The what is followed by the how…

See for yourself below:

Note: The ad features another BEATLES Song —George Harrison’s “Isn’t a Pity.”

Apple Ads & Global Adaptation…

I mentioned different markets earlier. The these next two pieces from Apple appeal to the highly competitive/challenging China cell phone market. The focus is on the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year.

Shot on iPhone 14 Pro | Chinese New Year – Through the Five Passes | Apple

TRT: 18-min

Shot on iPhone 14 Pro | Chinese New Year – Making of “Through the Five Passes” with Peng Fei | Apple
TRT: 3:39

Note: The Year of the Rabbit appear in these. The upcoming version, no doubt, will emphasize the Year of the Dragon.

That’s a Wrap!

Upon finishing this piece, my mind wandered back to a childhood memory of… Rudolph.

Why? Well, unbeknownst to many, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer was created by Robert L May for the Montgomery Ward Retail Department Store back in 1939 as holiday promotion. The retailer had been buying and giving away coloring books for Christmas every year and it was decided that creating their own book would save money.

As this post is running way long, I’ll end with a tease:

MAYBE next time I’ll tell you the story how my parents took me and my older sister to NYC, and we met Rudolph and his friends…

So for now, pencils down. Enjoy you holiday experiences! —Mr Pete

About Mr Pete
A music aficionado, Mr. Pete’s mind and ears have no horizons. He has the uncanny ability to suss out the right song for the right time — a skill that is truly amazing. The Gang here at Jedemi enjoys his contributions.

Bonus Clips…

Norelco Holiday Ad (1978)

The Beatles – In My Life (Music Video)

George Harrison – Isn’t It a Pity (2009 Remaster)


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