My friend the ad man...

Last Of The Summer Wine

Liam Danby discusses how ATL agencies are picking up on the real experiences that we create through experiential being much much better than the pretend ones they traditionally create!

We're iD Experiential the brand trial and engagement specialists, hope you're well. Right on with the blog. Have you ever seen a friend in a TV advert, recognised the location or even accidentally walked past while it was being filmed?

I recently spotted a friend of mine fronting a campaign for IKEA. The effect was almost immediate- I found myself with new interest in the message; curious about the offer and interested in what they were promoting.A similar thing normally happens when I see ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ on TV- I don’t find it funny or entertaining, but I come from the town where it’s filmed, Sid’s café was basically my local. When I found myself in Finland watching it with the natives, I ended up telling them all about it - despite not really liking it.

In both these cases, I had direct real-life experience of what I was watching on TV- It didn’t matter that the advert was rubbish or that the programme wasn’t funny, IKEA was now my friend, and Last of the Summer Wine- my home. The personal connection is a powerful force.

Traditional advertisers have clearly done an incredible job of creating the illusion of personal experience, even experiences that have no direct relation to what the product is. You just have to think of a traditional perfume advert, with a beautiful person talking about being free or some other nonsense.

In my mind, this highlights the basic weakness of traditional advertising (print/TV/online); it draws on existing real life experiences rather than creating new ones and building on them. Saatchi’s seem to have recognised these limits with a number of campaigns that blur the traditional distinction between television advertising and experiential marketing. Notable examples are T-mobile’s ‘Life’s for sharing’ and Smirnoff’s ‘nightlife exchange programme’. They’d probably like us to believe they turned the street into stage or life into art, but put simply they created an advert that began life in the real world- as a brand experience for consumers.

Essentially what they have tried to do is capture the power of personal experience- the kind of thing I feel when I see my home town on telly. This is what a campaign driven by experiential looks like- where the creative is the experience, and traditional media behaves like a photo album reminding people of their fond memories and allowing people to share and talk about them with their friends.

In a world dominated by, and over crowded with virtual experiences and hypothetical situations, real life counts for much more. We’re clearly just scratching the surface of what’s possible, so if you’re a brand that usually focuses on a traditional media, why not talk to us first and see how we could bring your campaign to life.

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