Commercials that aren’t about their products…

This week’s IMC-634 Digital Storytelling assignment asked for a review of commercials that intentionally minimized product information.  The following 3 came immediately to mind:


Kmart’s “Show Your Joe” Christmas commercial was aired in November of 2013. I was highly amused and somewhat shocked when I first saw it on television. The commercial shows a line of men dancing in their boxer shorts to the tune of jingle bells. Neither Kmart nor the Joe Boxer brand is mentioned until the very end. The brand positions itself to be remembered for having really nifty Christmas boxer shorts. It targets female buyers of men’s gifts. While being controversial and perhaps questionably effective, Kmart did at least achieve “memorable” with this and similar commercials.


Olay’s “Best Beautiful” commercial featuring skin cancer survivor Hillary Fogelson aired May 1, 2014. This commercial tells the story of a woman’s survival after being diagnosed with skin cancer at the age of 25. The woman, now 38, is being made up for a photoshoot. She tells her story of tanning at an early age, and how she protects her skin now. The woman gets emotional when she sees the beautiful pictures of herself. The brand positions itself as ‘serving’ a major purpose in the lives of people who want to protect their skin. It is very effective in my opinion. Olay and its products are only seen at the end of the commercial.

Last, but not least, this assignment would be incomplete were I not to mention…


Budweiser’s Super Bowl XLVIII Commercial — “Puppy Love”. Who couldn’t resist this adorable story of a puppy and horse who love eachother. The Budweiser brand isn’t mentioned until the end, and we never see a bottle of beer. It’s all about the adorable puppy and his favorite Clydesdale. The brand positioning on this one is the warm, fuzzy, memorable, word of mouth generating type. It’s wholesome and positive, and celebrates the simple things in life. I think it very effectively communicates the brand.

These are all examples of a brand telling a story rather than marketing itself directly. These stories appeal to our emotions, and represent the meaning behind the brand rather than just selling us on features.


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