A truly impressive PSA can be one of the best forms of advertising because it takes the art of persuasion and uses it for the almost inarguable power of good. The great ones get our attention, go viral, getting passed around social media like wildfire until even your friend's uncle has posted it on Facebook.
But when the Bay Area Council came to Jeff Goodby and asked him to create a campaign that would help encourage new parents to talk and sing more to their babies, a PSA was the last thing he wanted to do. The group's research showed talking and singing to children under three can help boost their vocabulary significantly later in life and consequently their chances of academic and professional success. So, Instead of a hard-hitting or charming video, Goodby and his team at Goodby Silverstein & Partners came up with something that would engage parents at the moments the message would mean the most—not when they were watching a video online, but when they were actually interacting with their kids. They created a baby clothing line that had simple, delightfully designed reminders for parents printed right on the T-shirts, onesies, blankets, and totes.
The "Talking Is Teaching" campaign is a great example of marketing smarts applied to the creation of useful, problem solving things, rather than ads.
It's also among our picks for the best in brand advertising and marketing from the past seven days. See the project, and some other doozies, below.
What: A cute, and functional, line of baby clothes and accessories.
Who: The Bay Area Council, Too Small To Fail, and Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Why We Care: There are a lot of very impressive, artful PSAs out there but this clothing line that aims to prompt new parents to engage with their babies to help the little brains develop more dynamically is something the target market can touch, feel, and use on a daily basis.
What: A campaign promoting a new flavor of cereal that puts dads in the starring role.
Who: Cheerios, Tribal Worldwide Toronto
Why We Care: In a world where most of the food and grocery advertising beyond an open flame is aimed at women, Cheerios touts its new peanut butter version as the right mix of fun and responsibility to reflect modern fatherhood. This ad cleverly breaks down what it means to be a super dad, without a doofus in sight. No, it's not a victory for the "men's rights" types, just a well executed spot and a nice counterpoint to CENTURIES of ads that show women as the primary houseworker and care giver.
What: A slick web film showing the catastrophic unintended consequences of an epic Simpsons binge.
Why We Care: The cable network got rights to The Simpsons and it's unleashing the entire 552-episode catalog on the world all at once. This promo suggests the impact such a bounty of comedic gold will have on society. Could a TV marathon, plus a streaming Simpsons World subscription service turn our world into a grim, dystopian wasteland? That's yet to be determined. What is for certain is that the ad and the offer are about as irresistible as a free trampoline.
What: An ad, released just ahead of Apple's third-quarter earning announcement, featuring a montage of Macbook Air machines, each sporting a real-world sticker, from Supreme to Heisenberg.
Who: Apple, TBWA/Media Arts Lab
Why We Care: In addition to beautiful machines, the Apple brand's success is also tied to its ability to make technology somehow feel personal. Computer as companion. iPhone as other limb. The new Macbook Air spot doesn't talk about megapixels or processing speed, but instead shines a spotlight on the many ways we personalize these machines to really make them ours. Dead simple, with a great electronic track, it felt like a refreshed classic.
What: A short "documentary" about emoji, done in the style of British nature shows.
Who: Stock footage player, Dissolve
Why We Care: If we're honest, after its Generic Brand Video—a pitch perfect piss-take on interchangeable ads featuring shots of corn fields and boardrooms and a voiceover that speaks of grand human themes—we'd watch pretty much anything made by Dissolve. But the stock footage company keeps its standards high with this faux-doc look at emoji—the "charming, versatile, and intelligent figures have captured our hearts." From smiling poo and monkeys to people, pizza and eggplant, we see the world of emoji in full Planet Earth style, complete with the Attenboroughesque narrator. It's entertaining, and what's more, shows that any marketer, in any category, of any size, can break through with the right attitude.