So what were the best TV commercials of 2014? Great question. According to USA TODAY they were commercials that told a story. Five commercials to be precise: one each for Cheerios, Taco Bell, Dick’s Sporting Goods, John Lewis and Budweiser. Other than excellent storytelling, what do these commercials have in common? Let’s take a look.
Big-Budget Productions. The majority of these TV commercials are not simple productions. A company would need a sizeable marketing budget to be able to afford multiple days of shooting, elaborate computer-generated graphics, animal wranglers, epic locations, etc. If you want your brand to make USA TODAY’s 2015 list, it would help to have deep pockets.
Sixty-Second Units. Most of these TV commercials are sixty-second units. One of them is a Super Bowl spot which costs media megabucks. Why is this the case? Strong story-telling commercials generally require a lot more runway to work on our emotions. Those weepy Hallmark commercials that we all remember are generally all sixties. Sure, most of these marketers launch their campaigns with long-format commercials and then later sprinkle in thirty-second cut downs to extend their reach. But this is something only big brands can afford. Smaller marketers usually cannot.
Non-Jingle Jingles. Remember jingles? Those catchy, stuck-in-your-head musical mnemonics from the marketing maestros of yesteryear? For some reason this mind-numbing advertising genre fell out of favor in the mid-eighties. In their place, we now have resurrected old rock songs or newer pop songs that marketers can purchase at a premium. Three of these 2014 picks possess these bits of borrowed interest.
So what is our takeaway? That marketers need to slap a second mortgage on the factory, pay a gazillion dollars for a Taylor Swift song and develop a long-format story-telling Super Bowl commercial where a lovable penguin chases a golden retriever puppy across the Sahara? Not at all.
Money is Not the Answer
Years ago, I helped launch a brand called Pace Picante Sauce. The budget was tight and our media buy only included thirty-second units. Even with those restraints, we managed to create one of the most memorable TV commercials of the past thirty years. No pop song. No Super Bowl venue. Just thirty seconds of clever marketing.
Of all the commercials selected for the USA TODAY Best of 2014, the one I feel delivers the biggest emotional impact is actually the simplest, most affordable on the list. It shows a blue-collar family in their kitchen. Dad is stuck working the third shift. He never gets to see his family, so his adorable little son gets up in the middle of the night and has Cheerios with him. It’s a story about familial love that is beautifully told in one location in just thirty seconds. Best of all, the brand Cheerios is the focal point of this sweet human encounter. Take a moment to watch it again. I dare you not to cry.
Can you make a commercial this powerful for your brand? We believe you can. If you would like our help, give us a call today at 866.642.7559.