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Is ‘Super-Mum’ An Advertising Super-myth?

We’ve come a long way from the days when products that helped with household chores were marketed solely to women. Far be it from the gentleman in the poster below to wear the cleanest shirts in town because he used his muscles to wash them...

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APRIL FOOL’S DAY ADS: Just humour us.

It’s been said by many an advertising maven that what’s being sold, whether conventionally or otherwise, isn’t necessarily the product itself, but the emotion behind the product. And the emotion we’d like to centre on, at least for the purpose of this here blog, is humour.

Yes, the month of April is upon us and, besides being renowned for showers and kite-flying, it’s also well-known for humorous pranks. Namely, April Fool’s Day.

When used in the right spirit, humour not only enhances an ad in terms of its delivery but it can also make it memorable. We at The BUZZ certainly have no qualms about using humour in advertising — our work over the years points to evidence that we’ve tickled a funny bone or two.

But what about ads that can get away with the absurd only on April Fool’s Day? No doubt they are sure-fire attention grabbers. According to Jared Kozel, EVP and Executive Creative Director at Wunderman Thompson, April Fool’s Day is a great sounding board for both ads and agencies, adding: “It’s pretty low risk for the most part, as it doesn’t require much effort and might help a brand break through the clutter.”

Above are April Fool’s Day ads from The Buzz for Castrol Lubricants.

Moreover, it also gives agencies (and the brands they represent) the opportunity to showcase their lighter side to the general public. Comedy, however, can be hit-or-miss. There are too many stories of campaigns that fizzled out or caused a furore because they failed to connect with their audience or offended in some way.

Even so, when one is talking about April Fool’s Day ads, it’s still perceived as advertising. So, the challenge is to craft an ad that is so funny (and within the boundaries of good taste) that the audience will get to see it for what it is: a lighthearted creation to draw the consumer even closer to a well-loved brand. 

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Creativity in de advertising DNA or nah? 

The onus is always on creatives to craft something dazzlingly original but as the iconic American writer Mark Twain pointed out, there’s no such thing as an original idea. What we can do, he elaborated, is turn old ideas into new and curious combinations.

But the question as headlined in this blog stems from soca writers and advertising jingle writers. Is the combination of established soca hit and corporate brand/product lyrics for the creative good… or bad?

A small brouhaha erupted on social media (where else?) when Mical Teja’s DNA was converted to a jingle for a popular airline. In this all-too-short Carnival season DNA is THE strong favourite for the Road March title (at least at time of writing). The conversational fallout on the soca writer side went along the lines of the song itself been cheapened and “force-fed” with corporate product prose and possibly hurting its chances of being the Road March winner. The fallout on the advertiser side along the lines of creative laziness or pure “bandwagonism” capitalising on a trendy song.

Now just to be clear and for full transparency, turning soca hits into a product jingle is nothing recent in the advertising industry – including for us at The BUZZ. In fact, we’ve even done the same to old hits too. Take a sample here…

So how do we see soca hit/corporate brand colab?

Firstly we’re not in the least bit churlish about Mr. Teja’s or any other artist’s success. If they can maximise reward for their work, however they see fit, go through by all means. Imagine if DNA remains an airline anthem long after the roads and road march results are swept away come Ash Wednesday? That’s a good thing right?

Secondly, on the advertiser side — and creative side in particular — there’s no one rule about what’s right or wrong. There’s only what’s right for the brand in the moment or circumstance. Take a soca and twist the lyrics with corporate finesse. Leave the soca as is and just play it as is cause “we like this track jus so”. Write a totally new soca. Have a signature beat and not say a word and make it your corporate “riddim”. Each of these can be right… in their own “write”.

Whatever is decided, just make it inspiring and keep that brand jumping. 

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Free Willie Fuh All!

Tiny confession 👀 When we first saw the Steamboat Willie story, we were totally stoked about kicking off the New Year with a BUZZworthy opinion piece to set the tone for the year. But we were also on vacay so… we kinda stick. But look how, 2 weeks later, no one else picked it up so here we are! 

Just in case you missed it, on January 1st the copyright expired for one of Walt Disney’s first animation films featuring Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willie. It was originally due to expire in 1983 but was extended to 1997 and again to 2024, for a total of 95 years. Other iconic characters, including Pluto and Donald Duck, are set to enter the public domain unless Disney goes to US Congress for an extension. 

Apparently, this copyright issue is a pretty big deal in the US and UK with people actively tracking copyright expiration for characters, videos, music and more. Which begs the question: how invested are we in copyright here? We were all up in arms about whether or not Japan owned the rights to our national instrument and then that died down. And we claim to be the meme gurus, but is anyone copyrighting those? Can we? And what’s the situation with Nagib Elias Guy, the Chubby Man and Peppy the Penguin… Is it that we’ll soon be seeing them used freely, much like how people keep TikToking the Island Finance jingle? 

We don’t really have the answers and, at the AI Symposium we attended least year, we learned that there really aren’t any — as yet. So tell us, what piece of Trini creativity would you be most excited to see join the copyright free ranks of Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh? 

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