Adwatch review: Velvet


LONDON - Dave Trott, creative director of CST, reviews the Velvet TV commercial which had the eighth highest recall with the public in the weekly Adwatch ranking for 3 March

When you think of Fallon you think of 'Gorilla', Sony 'Balls', and jelly babies: surreal anti-humour that gets lots of PR. You don't think of good, old-fashioned, hard-working ads like this. If I didn't know, I never would have guessed that Fallon did this campaign.

When I'm at home and this ad comes on the TV, my wife looks up, watches it and laughs. Women love this advertising, and women buy toilet tissue. The campaign has got both the market and the vehicle right.

To make the ad effective, Fallon had to begin with the reason people should buy Velvet instead of its competition: it has three layers, and it's soft, which is why it's called Velvet Triple Velvet.

Next, a mnemonic was needed to get that concept across. 'Soft, soft, soft,' delivered in a gently bossy way, is perfect. For a vehicle for this mantra, what's the softest and gentlest thing you can think of? A baby. But a baby is too obvious unless you do something unusual with it.

What if the baby runs the company? Perfect. It's funny, and communicates the core values of softness and gentleness at the head of the organisation.

Placing the ad in a factory setting, means that constant product shots do not seem gratuitous or out of place.

The ad also creates a strapline that will stand out on the pack, working to differentiate the product at point-of-sale, justifying the premium over own-label.

The audio mnemonic of a child's voice means this idea can also work on radio. In this particular ad, the baby-boss says, 'I love the environment, especially trees. That's why, for every tree we use, we plant three more big, beautiful trees.'

Delivered by an adult, this would sound didactic and dull. However, delivered in the voice of a tiny little baby, it's adorable.

On a purely exectutional level, I was especially impressed with the way the ad avoided lip-synching.

Many ads have shown babies 'talking' like adults, with heavy use of computer graphics that is obviously fake. Here, however, this trap is avoided by the use of quick and clever cutting.

When the baby speaks, either his back is to the camera, it is in a long shot, or his mouth is obscured by something else in the shot. The whole ad is simultaneously cute and classy.

I can't fault it.



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