Alex Steer

Better communication through data / about / archive

Wallpaper advertising

314 words | ~2 min

M&S's new brand ad is out. Here it is.

Much as I quite like Gary Barlow's rendition of Here Comes The Sun (take aim, hipsters), I have a problem with this ad. And with ads like it, in fact - nothing particular against M&S as a brand, I just saw it and the thought occurred to me.

The ad is wallpaper. Nothing really happens in it that resembles a narrative; there's no joke that builds to a punchline; no puzzle that needs solving; no challenge to your thinking; nothing, really, except a bunch of people milling around in the sunshine, having a picnic, looking happy. I suppose in theory that's a plot, but it's a bit of a thin one.

If the thought here is that it's enough to create something evocative and beautiful that associates the brand with the idea of summer fun... well, I don't think it is enough. I ended up watching it, wondering what I was supposed to do with it. As a viewer, I've got no right of reply, and no reason to talk. All I can do is watch it, and go, 'Oh.'

By contrast, here are three ads that look and feel very similar, but that in some small way engage the brain.

With a slight puzzle (Why are they all hunting for chairs?) - KFC, 'Spare Chairs', 2011:

With some insight into how British people actually behave during summer - Bulmer's, Great British Summer (2008):

And, simply, with a plot - Sainsbury's, 'Bare Necessities', 2012:

# Alex Steer (15/04/2012)