Monthly Archives: November 2009

You Are Different Than You

When I was in graduate school we learned that great ads had a combination of 5 S’s:

  • Simple
  • Something to solve
  • Smart
  • Special
  • Strategic

I would argue that many also share another facet: they’re relatable. Unfortunately, relatable doesn’t start with the letter S.

Some of my favorite ads, and commercials in particular, do a wonderful job at storytelling. They find a thread about humanity or life that the viewer can apply to his or her life.

My favorite example of the moment is the new spot for HTC, a Taiwan-based company that designs smartphones. Their new ad ensnares from the beginning with a catchy tune, beautiful cinematography and simple, yet compelling copy. Take a look:

Stunning work by Deutsch LA.

Even though the new HTC commercial is all about new mobile technology, there’s still a timeless, relatable element to it. Is it smart, simple and strategic? Sure. But I find that the true beauty of the ad is that I see myself in one of the “you” characters. I also see my best friend and my mom.

Several times a week I daydream about the next time I can get away to the Outer Banks for the weekend. And no scenario hastens this utopia-like daydream than driving around Washington, D.C. on a Friday night looking for street parking (or for that matter, operating a vehicle in a 25-mile radius of the city during rush hour). Unsurprisingly I see myself in the guy staring out a cab window while the voiceover says, “You miss the waves.

I see several of my friends, first- and second-year lawyers, in the “While you are working late again” and my mom in the “While you just want to know if he’s OK.”

I’m pretty sure most people can see a little of themselves in this commercial, and often, more than once. Yeah, it’s trying to sell a product. But more importantly, it explores and penetrates humanity.

And that’s what makes it so beautiful.


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