Thursday Thinky: Stirring, Preservatives & Design
Welcome to the last Thursday of February! 🤯
We’ve already been two months into 2020 so to grasp with that reality, this week’s Thinky will showcase campaigns that went all in to induce a strong reaction or that walked back their past dares to play it safer this time around.
Burger King went all the way when they decided to show the world what an aged Whopper looks like with no preservatives. After last year’s backlash, Gillette went the opposite direction with a powerful but polished new campaign. And then, as usual, we are wrapping things up with many instances of how design can help brand tackle specific issues.
See you in March!
Brands That Caught Our Eye
Gillette – Back in the “toxic masculinity” convo again (Muse by Clio)
The right vs. wrong scenarios in the spot are far more subtle than in previous Gillette attempts — “you don’t have to raise your fists to beat your enemies” just shows a player calmly walking away from an on-field brawl. It does become a little heavy-handed towards the end when it gets into anthemic narrative: “show them…we stand shoulder to shoulder against all forms of prejudice.” And while I know this spot is aimed at the masculinity conversation, I do wish there were women included. If “we stand shoulder to shoulder,” doesn’t that mean ALL of us, not just men? That’s probably nitpicky, as overall, this spot is nice. It’s not super powerful, but it’s also (at least to me) not offensive. It feels like Gillette is staying on message, but playing it safe, after last year’s backlash.
Thinky Grade: B-
Burger King – Proving that it’s removing preservatives from its food by showing that yes, Whoppers will grow mold (Instagram)
“….folklore that McDonald’s hamburgers don’t decompose. Last year, a man in Iceland even created a museum-style exhibit showing an uneaten 10-year-old burger and fries from the Golden Arches that didn’t look worse for wear, a full decade after purchase. Notably, there was no mold on the food whatsoever.”
So naturally, Burger King needed to prove that its food doesn’t follow the same rules as its competitors. It’s a bold move, showing anything by perfectly art directed meat and condiments. But I’ll tell you what — the beauty of the timelapse, and mental impression of seeing that mold overtake the burger, is something you’re not going to soon forget. They took a risk in the fact that it may turn some people off to their brand entirely, simply associating mold = Whopper and never going back. But the bigger impression is that BK is not afraid to show it’s food getting moldy, because that’s what REAL FOOD should do. (No one is claiming it’s healthy, just preservative-free.) This took guts. They get my applause. And they’ll probably get some award nods, too.
Thinky Grade: A+
Tackling Issues via Design
Children’s Health – Kids finally get to press all the buttons in this Children’s Health ‘Get Well-evator’ (Campaign Live)
How can you see this and not smile ear-to-ear? Children’s Health states its mission as “to make life better for children.” In a practical sense, that comes from live-saving treatments, education, and advocacy. But in an emotional sense? That can come from anywhere…and most magically, from making it possible to bring their dreams, fantasies, and imaginations to life during what’s likely one of the most fearful and uncertain situations a kid could ever imagine. The idea is so stupidly simple (all of the best ones are), based on the insight that every parent knows all too well: kids love pressing elevator buttons. So why not give them ALL. THE. BUTTONS?
Thinky Grade: A+
Thinky Grade: A
New Visual Identities
COP 26 – A new visual identity for the COP26 Climate Change Conference aims to make it ‘everyone’s problem’(Creative Review)
Thinky Grade: B-
Autism Speaks – Unveiling new campaign, and identity, for its 15th birthday (Campaign Live)
The new brand/visual identity is more of an evolution than a redesign (you can read and watch more about it here). And yes, in that context, it is an improvement. But it feels so…meh. There’s no empowerment or inspiration coming from it. The spectrum of colors is a nice touch to allude to the spectrum of abilities, and the slightly more balanced/refined puzzle piece helps give it more credibility. But overall it just fails to connect. I realize that I am speaking as someone outside of the autism community, and that the puzzle piece itself may hold much greater resonance and relevance to those who are involved. So maybe that’s OK that it doesn’t hit home with me. Maybe it’s not supposed to.
Thinky Grade: C+
There’s so much more to talk about when it comes to effectiveness and measurement…but that’s a post for another day. Thanks for reading today’s Thinky. See you next week!
PS: If any of the above made your wheels spin, we’d love to hear your thoughts — get in touch with us!
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