This week we have two giants of positive advertising at the height of their game. Both Dove and Always—two brands from rival parents Unilever and P&G—have been entrenched in the Inspiration and Insanely Popular wings of the ad Hall of Fame for a while, so much so that we'd probably forgive them if they continued to coast on those laurels. But in marketing, it's not so much "what have you done for me lately?" as "what are you doing for me right now?" And right now, these two are proving they still got it. Onward!
What: A middle finger to stereotypes by way of inspiring stories of women who have overcome perceived weakness to define their own version of beauty and success.
Who: Dove, Ogilvy & Mather London
Why We Care: A thoughtful and uplifting look at what Unilver's global executive creative officer Andre Laurentino told us was society "trivializing women through a focus on how they look over and above their achievements. We wanted to take a positive stand on this and inspire women through real stories of how they can deal with this and celebrate their own beauty."
What: A gorgeous 360-degree look at Australia's Ningaloo Reef, Dandenong Ranges, and the cliffs of Cape Huay in the Tasman National Park.
Who: Expedia, 180LA
Why We Care: We've said this before but it bears repeating, VR is in such an experimental phase right now, but there have already been a few areas where it shines particularly bright—gaming, concerts, and travel. Here Expedia takes full advantage of that to give people a next-gen travel brochure. Hopefully there's more locales to come.
What: A sports-specific adaptation of the award-winning #LikeAGirl campaign, focusing on keeping girls enrolled in sports, and the confidence that it can create later in life.
Who: Always, Leo Burnett Worldwide
Why We Care: Just a perfect Olympic spot, tied to the already amazing #LikeAGirl campaign, and pegged to the stats that 7 out of 10 girls feel they don't belong in sports, while a recent NHCS study reported that young women are twice as likely to be confident if they play sports regularly than those who don't play at all.
What: James Van Der Beek plays DJ/producer Diplo in a promo ad for the upcoming Mad Decent summer tour.
Who: Diplo, Mad Decent
Why We Care: We had our assumptions about a day in the life of Diplo, and this confirms most of them. Silk pajamas, a 24-hour staff, airhorns, ninja attacks, copious amounts of "fam," and a horse. Combining the sense of humor and self-awareness on the part of both Diplo and James Van Der Beek to pull it off is almost as impressive as how funny it all turned out.
What: A virtual reality video game and concert from Absolut and Deadmau5.
Who: Absolut, Forever Beta, Unit9, Deadmau5
Why We Care: Like Expedia, Absolut recognizes the obvious attraction of VR, but uses it in a way to create something of both entertainment and value. For Deadmau5 fans, that's the opportunity to become a '90s Nintendo version of their hero, to play a game to the tune of a new exclusive track, then get to stand in the DJ booth as he plays a secret show. It's the kind of ambitious content more brands should strive for.