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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > articles >  From Esso Extra to Immersive Experiences: some observations on advertising’s evolution over the decades.


From Esso Extra to Immersive Experiences: some observations on advertising’s evolution over the decades.

Posted on September 19, 2011 and read 2,241 times

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darren1 From Esso Extra to Immersive Experiences: some observations on advertising’s evolution over the decades. Darren Richardson
Creative Director
CP+B


Advertising has changed so much in the last century, from product-centric messaging to the largely utility-based focus we see now. Today, we have to treat the consumer differently than the days of old. We have innovative products and platforms that enable us to speak to consumers in new ways, on their terms. As marketers, it is our job to stay ahead of the curve; to seek culture-changing opportunities that allow consumers to see our brands in new, more appealing lights and to create engaging and immersive experiences.

One such example is the MINI Getaway program launched in Stockholm in 2010. This campaign was driven by the insight that mobile phones are with us all the time; in-fact the 3 things people pick up before leaving the house are their wallet, keys and mobile phone. Armed with this insight and the understanding that their target market is hugely into gaming and very social, MINI created this mobile-driven challenge to win a MINI Countryman:

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

This sort of innovative branding and integration of new technologies is even more awe-inspiring when you consider how the industry evolved to this point. Let’s take a look back at some ads that typified past decades, starting with the 1930′s.

1930′s

We start our journey in the 1930′s, the era of advertising jingle, mnemonic, and of course happy dancing people.

Esso Extra

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In this spot, I have trouble making the connection from a French bread stick to Esso extra premium fuel. They seem very loosely tied together and almost forced. But on the plus side, we do have product front and center for 50% of the spot, so I am sure the client was a happy bunny at the time.

1950′s

Let’s jump approximately 20 years ahead to see how advertising has changed. Ohh hang on a tic, we haven’t changed much at all. We are in the era of “Mad Men”: smart suits, sexism, and ads with laughable, contrived dialogue.

Borden’s Milk

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This is a favorite of mine and is inspiring me to change the way I speak to my kids. Instead of saying “Hey Barney, do you want any milk?”, I will say “Hey Barney, do you want any of this delicious Borden’s Milk?” That approach is sure to get a different reaction. And I’ll of course need to teach them to lasso for this beautiful utopia to really materialize.

1970′s

Fast forward another 20 years and we have Disco, flares and an influx of stars in advertising. The advertising in the 70′s starts to feel more real and human, and begins to forge stronger connections with consumers.

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The now very famous A-lister Robert De Niro shows us how to sell a car by making the connection with family, and the insight that we all want our parents to be proud. I have a feeling strategic planners might have been involved here. I personally wouldn’t take my folks for a ride unless they were in their Sunday best.

1990′s

This is the decade that advertising started to significantly turn around for me. The industry started innovating and finding new ways of speaking to consumers. We had mobile phones – mind you, they were the size and weight of a brick with about as much function until the late 90′s – and a new way to communicate. On a parallel path, the Internet revolution began and people started using the web for something other than email.

And brands started to become braver.

Peugeot 406 Advert

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Peugeot broke the mold here. Instead of executing a typical :30 or :60 spot, they took over the entire advert station break in the form of a three minute segment accompanied by music from a popular band at the time.

At the time of airing I wonder how this tested. Did the consumer stay to watch the whole spot because of the storytelling and uplifting music, or did they switch the channel? Either way, Peugeot was bold enough to break the industry mold and challenge user behavior.

2011

Present day. I don’t yet have my jetpack or my meal in a pill, but hey we have Hipsters, gadgets that see information hidden to the naked eye (I’m talking about Augmented Reality of course), and mobile phones that hold more applications and computing power than home computers of the early 90′s. This is of course all fantastic, but what does it mean to advertising?

It means that creative possibilities are limitless and that we’re already getting a glimpse of the new ways that brands are changing our behaviors and adding new value to our lives via innovative experiences like the MINI program I mentioned earlier. Another way brands are cutting through is through utility, or ‘Brand Butlering’ as Trend Watching calls it. With this approach, brands focus on assisting consumers in making the most of their daily lives, versus the old model of selling them a lifestyle, if not an identity.

By combining the utility found in popular services like Foursquare and Facebook Places with gaming, Coke Zero created their own immersive experience in TRON LiveCycle to promote Disney’s TRON: Legacy. This was a real time game using the iPhone and Android’s motion sensing capabilities to enable users to create “Light Walls” as they moved around the real world. Players then earned points by boxing in opponents and forcing them to crash like the movie.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

The Future

What does the future hold? I think we will be advertising more via mobile; that’s a no brainer really. Also, I think adverts will be more personalized and targeted via location.

Interactive TV will be mainstream. We are already heading that way with Microsoft Xbox announcing the nuAds platform at Cannes, where you can control your TV via gestures and voice.

I can’t wait! it’s a very exciting time to be in the advertising world.

Until next time…

Darren Richardson has spent the last 17 years working across the globe with huge brands and in both creative and interactive roles. He is currently a Creative Director at CP+B, and is on twitter @playfool.







  • Anonymous

    You are right, how far we have come from contrived, laughable dialogue… what endless possibilities of consumer-bonding thru technological marvels – like, say, the amazing PIZZA TRACKER that lets you REVIEW YOUR PIZZA and RATE IT ONLINE! Because, as the oh-so-uncontrived sounding Domino Employee of the Month tells us in such an uncontrived way on CP+B’ very own home page “I DON’T WANT TO SEND OUT A BAD PIZZA, AFTER ALL IT’S GOT MY NAME ON IT!”
    Oh, what an exciting time to be in the advertising world, indeed! How far we have come…


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