TV commercials are something I have an incredible appreciation for, or I should say, I have an incredible appreciation for the people who concepted and created them. They’re tasked with taking an idea and finding the best combination of music, voiceover, plot, visuals, etc. to give the viewer a sense of how they’re going to feel when they use that product or service–all from a two-dimensional screen and some speakers.
It’s a lofty goal, and to do it well takes incredible vision and skill from a team of videographers, producers and writers. I can think of a lot of commercials I like; ones that make me unexpectedly laugh, or those that seem to strike a chord with me, etc. but there are few that have stuck with me over the years. When asked what my favorite TV commercial is, the first thing that always comes to mind is the Propel Stress Monster.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT
It’s been a hot second since this spot has made its 30-second interruptions to our favorite shows, but every time I hear David Bowie and Queen’s “Under Pressure”, visions of that monster constructed of life’s everyday demands–a crying baby, an unhappy boss, to do’s and quite literally everything in between–running through city streets fill my head. And the end, when those stresses all fall away to reveal a person simply out for a run, is my favorite part. Why? Because I love that feeling. He did it. He let go, even if it was just for a 30-minute run, he let go of the things that consume our day and add up to often feel like too much. It’s just him and the world around him. Oh, and of course his bottle of Propel® that helped make it all happen. : )
WHY I THINK IT WORKS
This commercial could have have gone in many more obvious directions, but this unexpected and unconventional route I think really worked to keep the viewer engaged and with hardly any voiceover. The storyline is clear and interesting, the music is relevant, and if you can relate to it in any way, it may just trigger an emotion like it did for me (and keeps doing every time I hear that song). Fit does have a feeling, which I think which makes that the perfect tag line and tie-in to the brand.
SO DO I DRINK PROPEL?
Well, no. Does that mean the commercial wasn’t successful? No. It certainly connected with me and my values, it made me feel emotions, and it was memorable–all things every TV spot aims to do, but are tough to nail in 30 seconds. The rest is really up to targeting the right audience, which in 2008 was a bit more limited. But, here I am talking about it to this day so I’d say that’s a win.
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