Out of the Ordinary – Utility Brands Entertain Storytelling

Once upon a time...

There seems to be a trend at the moment for TV adverts which are not instantly recognisable by brand. It reminds me of being a kid when I used to play the game where you shout out the brand before it was mentioned in the ad. Have we come back to this as brands start to consider the impact of their adverts across different platforms such as YouTube? Are they trying to keep us interested so that we don’t press skip?

Some of these adverts also seem, at first, to have tenuous links to their core product. Are brands struggling to balance their core message with the need to create engaging content? Or is this more creative approach to storytelling, encouraging them to look deeper into their brand and what it stands for? Does every advert need a clear call to action? If the advert is memorable then the brand awareness objective is met. However it’s a fine line as there can be a danger that they hook people in with the advert and then disappoint them when they see the brand that it’s for. Depending on the viewer’s original perception of the brand, these could be the first steps on the journey to change that view or they could just be adding another nail to their coffin.


This advert is beautifully shot and has an ‘Apple’ feel to it. I was not expecting it to be for Nationwide. It remains to be seen whether this is too big a leap for them to have taken but the comments on the YouTube video seem positive for the most part. ‘Being on your side’ is a lovely sentiment and if everyone who works for them is as thoughtful as the woman who finds the scarf then they have a good starting point. They will need to be careful that the same sentiment runs through their customer service though or it could come back to bite them in the future.


Another bank getting all emotional on us is Barclays who have been running a series about their Digital Eagles. Are they getting involved in areas that are nothing to do with them or is this a smart move? They are identifying a need of their customers and fulfilling it – who says it has to be a financial one? In banking ‘trust’ is one of the things that they are selling, so why not extend that to other areas? It’s certainly a way to create a loved brand. This first advert caught my attention straight away but I was expecting it to be for Skype itself!


As a big fan on those inspirational quotes on instagram, the carpe diem feel of this was right up my street and grabbed me straight away. Again though I wasn’t expecting it to be for Vodafone, I thought it was going to be a sports brand or maybe a government video about moving more! It’s interesting, now I watch it back, I see just how many times mobile phones and tablets appear in it. I guess that just felt natural – it’s about the same amount that they feature in our day to day lives!


Starting to see a common theme in these adverts? They are all for brands who work in industries that are quite functional. Yes they are necessary products but they are not historically fun! UPS deliver parcels, not much to say about that in itself and hard for them to stand out from other parcel delivery firms. Until someone suggested shifting their focus to what’s inside the packages. Then they are delivering something totally different and can produce this sort of film.


Not necessarily a ‘utility’ but another everyday item. The first time I saw this advert I had no clue what it was going to be for. It was the Policeman from The Missing who attracted my attention. I’m not target audience for this being neither a Mum nor a coffee drinker but I imagine that the hook works well with them. In one minute they manage to tap into the guilt of working mothers and encourage them to make the most of every Golden Opportunity.

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