The best ads are always naked demonstrations of the product. Always.

Dramatic demonstrations of the product benefit is always my first angle of attack on every brief.

And it has been for years now.

You know why?

Because it forces you to strip away all the bullshit and let the product stand naked in front of the customer.

Nothing gets in the way because there’s nothing to get in the way.

It’s all about the product.

Which makes complete common sense.

I know that if I was a brand manager and I was doing say, 30 second TV ads, I would want every one of those seconds to be about my product.

From second one. Maybe two. OK, three max!

Because TV time is expensive and precious.

So you might think that all advertising would reflect this obviously sensible imperative.

You’d think.

But so often it doesn’t.

And I am here to tell you why.

Right now!

You ready for the truth?


Because the unspoken truth of the advertising business is that an awful lot of ad people don’t have the foggiest idea what they’re REALLY doing.

Big picture thinkers are always rare.

In any industry.

Advertising is no exception.

And to be really good at advertising you have to intuitively get the big picture.

And that’s something you can’t learn.

It’s a gift.

But if you don’t get the big picture you tend to focus on your little part of the big picture.

This helps explain why so much of TV advertising is 20 seconds of alleged comedy followed by a bunch of bullshit you really don’t care about.

Because selling stuff via the media is, frankly, hard.

We have to stop customers in their tracks and make them attend our usually one-sided message.

And then still have them love us for some reason.

That’s why I love product demo ads.

They rule out borrowed interest and bullshit.

So at the very least, you’re immediately saying and doing the right thing.

Now all you have to do is make that interesting.

And if you’re any good that won’t be a problem.

But apparently this is a lot harder than I think.

Maybe they just don’t see the big picture.

10 responses to “The best ads are always naked demonstrations of the product. Always.

  1. this ad for ENO is one of my personal favourites ever: or check Cannes Lions 1999 Gold winners (you should remember that year, Vinny ;-) )

    it totally proves your point. you can’t argue with this kind of promise. and I’m 1000000000 % certain that if you run this anywhere in the world it’d work.

    but when I show it to younger creatives they think it’s the last proof I’m going crazy.
    no fancy post-production, no funny punchline, no 3 days of shooting in Rio, no boobs…

  2. damn, couldn’t watch it riki. yes 1999 was a good year in cannes. but 2000, now that was a truly great year ;-)

    • sorry, can’t find it on internet.
      if you have 1999 reel it’s on it.

      I’ll try and explain.
      (the important thing to know is it was shot in one continuous take. no cuts.)
      the story goes something like this:
      an old man shows us a glass of some acid, saying it’s the acid much like the one in our stomach.
      than pours the acid on solid iron or steel.
      acid of course corrodes it (sorry, don’t if it’s the right expression): with bubbles and smoke and stuff.
      than he takes a spoon, drops some product into acid, stirs it, lifts it and toasts towards camera.
      and drinks.
      product shot with a claim.

      my description doesn’t do it justice but trust me, it’s powerful stuff.

      • theescapepod

        i get it riki. great stuff. that’s the great thing about demos. there’s no bullshit at all involved. yet they can be so powerful and moving and just impossible to argue with.

  3. This stuff drives me crazy. I know on some very rare occasions advertising can affect popular culture….Wazzzup!? ….Where’s the Beef? But it’s only 50-50 chance sales increase too even with a home run.

    But the product shouldn’t be shielded if it i good. Why does Pepsi have soda cans hitting people in the super bowl commercial? Instead I want to see someone so completely genuinely refreshed from drinking some that I want to feel like that…taste it…revel in it. The same issue we had on the crappy Harley spot in cages.

    Something about the Sham-Wow or Blendtech that proves great product sells itself.

  4. BTW your cooking cheese spots were great demos.

  5. i agree howie. sometimes there is literally nothing new to say but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do a demo. why will people always drink pepsi? because they’re thirsty. demo that!

  6. and btw, one of the reasons i liked the Wassup! idea was that it basically was a demo. “how to drink beer and watch sports with your pals”.

  7. I thought this post was great and I could not agree more. Even those who can see the big picture can lose focus of it by getting bogged down in the day-to-day bullshit, or even a blue sky outside their office window….

  8. glad you liked kevin. and yes, it can be easy to lose sight of what matters, especially in big agency environments where you can get bogged down in bullshit and politics. But not at The Escape Pod!!!

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