The longer I work in advertising, the more I appreciate ideas based on our behaviour. Ideas that get to the bottom of how we make decisions to deliver products or services we actually find useful. Ideas that inspire a change in the way we behave by communicating something to us at just the right moment. A pivotal moment.
The most successful pivotal ideas occur at this pivotal moment. A moment when a brand enters your life in a natural way in order to be useful or relevant. If you get that right, a change in behaviour will follow.
With award shows submissions season here – just a few examples of my favourite pivotal ideas from the last 12 months.
Imagine you’re crossing the road. You look down at your phone because a text just popped up. Suddenly, the sound of a car squealing to a stop comes at you from the street. You look up in terror.
Rather than a car, you see a motion activated billboard with your terror-stricken face staring right back at you. The billboard is equipped with a motion sensing camera and loud speaker to capture your attention at just the right moment. The moment you thought you were going to be hit by a car. A moment when you are most perceptive to listening to an advertisement about crossing the street safely. “Don’t look death in the face,” it says. “Check the lights and cross safely.”
This idea is a great example of identifying a pivotal moment to deliver the most powerful message. It captures the audience at the shocking moment when most people are injured or killed crossing the street. A moment they’re unlikely to forget.
Snickers is on a mission to calm down hungry people all over the world. Because - when you get hungry, you get angry. And since the internet can be a pretty angry place, it was time to take the quest online.
To target all of the hangry people online, BBDO Melbourne created a “Hunger Algorithm” which monitored the mood of the internet. When internet anger went up, Snickers prices in stores went down - to make everyone a bit happier. They called it the “Hungerithm”.
It’s a brilliant way of bringing Snickers’ “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign to life. It takes the campaign from a TV ad to something you can actually benefit from at the time when you most need it: when you experience internet road-rage.
With targeted social listening and a clever Venmo hack, Deutsch persuaded thousands of Millennials to consider donating to the WATERisLIFE charity.
Deutsch knew that Millennials use mobile devices to send money to friends via the Venmo app. Sending money was easy, but the trick was to convert this behaviour into donations.
On making a Venmo payment, WATERisLIFE sent a one-cent payment with a message about donation. It captured people at that pivotal moment when they had a phone in hand and an app allowing them to donate at their fingertips. It helped change the way Millennials used Venmo FROM: an app to pay back friends TO: an app that allowed you to donate money to WATERisLIFE.
Åkestam Holst used Google ads in an unexpected way to remind people that everyday dilemmas can be solved/improved by IKEA. It renamed IKEA products to common Google searches and placed a targeted ad above the results. Be it a snoring husband, or a son unable to quit playing video games; a useful solution in the form of a piece of IKEA furniture appeared in your search.
The campaign changes the way people are inspired to shop for furniture. It creates a pivotal moment by reframing how IKEA furniture can be used. And - comes into your life in a natural way – with great humour.
The #TakeAction campaign, created by Ogilvy, monitored Twitter for any mention of the refugee crisis. Amnesty teams stationed in camps worked with refugees to record and post individual video messages in response to selected tweets. Each message encouraged the tweeter to take action and sign a global petition.
By catching people online at that pivotal moment when they were talking about the crisis, Amnesty was far more successful in converting talk into action.
All this combined to make the #TakeAction campaign one of the most pivotal campaigns of 2017.
James Cahill is Art Director at Geometry Global UK