What makes an advertisement a hit tends to be emotion or humor.
What makes an advertisement “good” is a never-ending discussion among advertisers.
It isn’t the awards at festivals or the pre-and post-campaign sales, or academic criteria that provide a scale that fairly measures the quality of a piece of advertising. But when an ad becomes a hit, just as a song does, that’s when it reaches the podium.
In many cases, it is a two-way relationship. Something happens on the street, and the ad uses it, re-elaborating it, putting the concept at the service of a brand. It then launches a commercial, and the people take it to heart again.
This is what is happening in Brazil right now when Joel Santana, coach of soccer club Flamengo, gained renewed popularity after giving an interview peppered with Portuguese pronunciations of English words (“lefche” for “left”, for example).
The video went viral On YouTube, and AlmapBBDO hired Santana for “Tradutor,” an advertisement in which the coach is a Portuguese interpreter with a strong accent, that mixes Portuguese and English. “¿Me dá uma Pepsi, pode to be?” (“Could you give me a Pepsi, could it be?”) , he says, and the mixture “pode to be” leapt off the screen into the street and became an instant hit.
What makes an advertisement a hit tends to be emotion or humor. In Argentina, Tulipan condom commercials for the Day of the Student, the perfect occasion to address adolescents and young adults, are keenly awaited.
As 2011 was also an electoral year, strets were saturated with political posters, which can turn into anti-advertising.
At the hand of Young & Rubicam, Tulipan made a parody of the candidates’ communications, saying, “Murra in the provinces, Maza in the city.” To give murra, or maza, is slang for sex.
However, it can be difficult to evaluate the merits of advertising because some categories are more likely to succeed than others. For example, there was never an original campaign for toothbrushes.
There are complex themes, such as the insurance market, a service everyone wants not to need. Ogilvy Mexico managed to bypass this quagmire with “Office,” a spot for the Mexican Association of Insurance Institutions (AMIS). In it, a man suffers an accident but he is not driving – he is working at his desk. The ad closes with the message: “Seven out of 10 car accidents take place when you are thinking of something else. If you drive, just drive.”
Brazil, Mexico and Argentina lead the adversiting market in Latin America, but other countries are beginning to produce innovative pieces.
In Chile, BBDO scored again in a campaign for Pepsi. It used the Facebook concept of “like” (PepSI or PepYES) and added the “don’t like” (PepNO) to invite the public to use the “Pepsi-meter” to vote on what is good and bad about summer or the Viña del Mar festival.
Like many cases, the spots invited the public to enter Facebook to continue proposing pairs of PepYES and PepNO, and the response level remained high all summer.
From the advertising market alone, it is difficult to determine exactly how much money changes hands in each country. There are several factors involved. There are no mandatory audits.
Advertising agencies are not obligated to make public the fees they charge, companies do not always disclose the figures of their campaigns, and it is not possible to use a simple formula that involves multiplying the number of seconds or centimeters by value, as the relationship is not so direct.
The frequency of an advertisement influences its final price, and there are discounts that companies may get, or swaps, among other factors. But the greater a country’s GDP, the greater the volume of the market.
Not all repercussions are necessarily positive. In Buenos Aires, in the summer of 2011/2012, “the” campaign is, again, from Young & Rubicam, for Quilmes beer.
The spot is a version of the battle of the sexes that harks back to several films, including pre-battle rallying cries in Braveheart (Mel Gibson) and Elizabeth I (in particular that of Cate Blanchett, on horseback). Men and women race toward each other to kill or be killed, but when they meet they embrace and say things that are completely opposite to what they had been shouting.
The production is impeccable, but because of the sensitivity of the theme, some people overlooked the fact that “Encontronazo” proposed “equality” and criticized the advertisement because of the negative image it gave on women’s gender.
And advertisers who use humor run the risk of being disrespectful about issues that some people consider sacred. To a lesser extent, this was the case of “Pôneis malditos” (Damned ponies), a campaign by de Lew’Lara\TBWA for Nissan.
The ad, playing with the concept of “horsepower,” suggests that some pickup trucks are not horses but ponies. Not only that, but small, evil ponies, according to the popular soundtrack. A song that proclaimed itself to be demonic because – and the prophesy was fulfilled – if you heard it you couldn’t get it out of your head.
The problem was that some people were upset that these innocent little characters were being demonized.
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