If you ever thought that texting has been revolutionized by those umpteen emojis and add-ons that Whatsapp and other similar apps offer, you’re right. But if you ever thought that it has revolutionized “communication” per se, you might want to check out the following series of Starbucks ads:
The “Conversation Films” ad series that Starbucks has recently dished out hit the spot in terms of social connect with the viewers. The abstract components that shape most of our intimate conversations have been brought to focus with an immaculate and, surprisingly, simple ad showcasing the inherent weaknesses and emotional vacuum in text-based conversations.
An important social message that resonates with Starbucks’ brand concept of a social hangout forms the crux of the ad series. The visual minimization, voiceovers with natural background sounds matched with apt pauses coupled with the most impressive part: the screen going blank with the voiceovers continuing their talk; Starbucks should be lauded for such a simple and yet powerful brand recall strategy.
And it isn’t just Starbucks that has come up with such text-based commercials. There seems to be an upward trend towards many brands adopting this advertising approach. Do check out the following: Google’s classic “Parisian Love” and Honda’s more recent PSAs against texting and driving.
Dwell on the impact of these ads and we see a positive connotation attached with Starbucks and subtly negative and unsettling one with that of Honda. Where Honda also intended to drive home a social message that depicted social responsibility on their part, the level of brand recall seemed to be distant from what they seemed to target. Close repeated analysis of Starbucks v/s Honda ads brings forth the importance of undercurrents that need to go with the ad theme. They need to be impactful, but of course, have to be synergized with the brand and the message they would like to portray. Summing up the difference: Which ad would you like to watch again? Starbucks’ or Honda’s?
The Google ad leaves us asking for more creativity and impact factor. It’s swift, simple, tries to be exhaustive in terms of utilities offered by Google, but again, could’ve done a better job, we believe. Google, though, has come out with great Google search commercials in the recent past (Google Search: Anarkali) but since we are analyzing text-based commercials, it just didn’t hold that a firm ground in this particular ad theme.
And we see how the trend has shifted from typographical commercials to text-based ones with a smooth transition from a narration basis to a two-way communicational setting in parallel with the onslaught of texting in the recent years: A Starbucks 2008 Presidential election ad, tempting coffee lovers to exchange their vote for a free beverage.
Starbucks has clearly been riding on a smart trend-adaptation strategy with respect to its correctly positioned advertisements. It’ll be interesting to keep a tab on their upcoming ads for trend analysis.
And do watch this space for more text-based commercials from different brands.
Nitisha Tomar is a PGP1 Student (2014-16) in IIM Ahmedabad