It’s the end of the road for the Land Rover Defender, the UK’s original off-road vehicle. Introduced in 1948, the intrepid Defender became the vehicle of choice for safari guides, cattle ranchers and explorers of the rugged outback. But in 2015 increasingly tough emission standards finally put the brakes on production. Before we say goodbye to the iconic 4×4, let’s revisit one of the Land Rover Defender’s best ads, created by London ad agency, RKCR/Y&R, in 2011. The print ad shows an open passport bearing multiple passport stamps that overlap into the shape of a Land Rover making a steep uphill climb. The image embodies the go-anywhere, handle-any-terrain reputation of the brand simply, succinctly, and brilliantly.
Is the fact that an ad is memorable the same as it being effective? This is a discussion that I had with the young designer who works with me on this blog. He loved this Schick razor print ad, created by Y&R in Auckland, New Zealand. I found the furry creatures clinging to the models’ chins kinda creepy.
Young hip male designer argued: “It’s very effective; it’s gone viral.”
Old female editor said: Who are the target customers? Lumberjacks, mountain men and Arctic explorers? The average guy in an office doesn’t have that much facial growth. In fact, they like to have a little stubble like they were out partying all night and didn’t go home to shave.
Young design argued: It got you to look. It drew eyeballs to this ad.
Old female editor said: Show me what the men look like after they have shaved and I’ll tell you whether I like the product or not. Show me the sales spike.
And so it went. Here it is. The vote here is a tie. Is an ad that lots of people look at and tweet about better than one that shows the effectiveness of the product? The jury is out on our end. Decide for yourself.
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Here’s a case of taking the same visual concept and using it to communicate two different marketing messages. This “night light” print ad, created by Cossette West in Canada, promotes the fact that McDonald’s is now open all night, 24/7.
It builds on a visual idea, conceived by Leo Burnett USA, for an outdoor marketing campaign touting McDonald’s as having the “Best Fries on the Planet.” Visible from three miles around, the billboard shot vertical beams of golden light up from a super-sized French-fry packet, illuminating the night skies of Chicago. Although this spectacular “tribute to fries” garnered lots of accolades for its ingenuity, the outdoor light show was also called insensitive for what some considered an uncanny resemblance to the Twin Tower “Tribute in Light” commemoration of the 9/11 tragedy. We don’t think so. For one thing, the billboard – which came down last week – was only shown in Chicago near the company’s headquarters. Also, the red box of fries is so iconic that viewers immediately associate it with the fast-food giant and chuckle. Don’t know whether this marketing concept will be extended beyond print ads and billboards, but maybe it should be turned into a promotional giveaway of a real “french fry” night light.
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