Big Ideas and Brand Distraction

At the end of a long hard day have you ever sat back and dreamt of escaping the constraints of modern life? I know I have. It’s what makes all the sea change programs and stories so appealing. So when recently I found myself watching a TV ad that set out to appeal to exactly that sentiment, I was intrigued. It was long at 60 seconds, but was well produced with stunning imagery.

The ad began by showing a baby swimming, this is the freedom we are all born with.

Then the images became grey and hum drum. This is the reality of our lives. The baby is soon behind the bars of a cot, a man is just one of dozens sitting in identical work stations in an open office, miserable commuters are standing on a packed train etc. You get the picture.

But wait, there is hope. The mood of the ad lifted. Imagine a world without borders, a world where you can cycle off to the horizon down a sunny country lane, flowers bloom, a girl laughs as she is soaked by a hose, a man dives into an azure blue ocean… I get ready for the punchline, it’s got to be Queensland, or New Zealand or at the very least a brand who will offer me the secret to a wonderful, rich and carefree life.

Roll end frame and the big reveal – it’s LG and it’s an ad for a TV.

Sure it’s a really nice TV, from a really good company. In fact it’s a borderless TV, the latest innovation from a company renowned for it. The ad signs off with ‘Life’s Good’ so there is a connection to the LG brand there. But for me this is a case of an advertiser getting carried away by a big budget, feel-good ad concept and loosing sight of their strategically-driven brand strategy in all the excitement.

But the thing is LG has spent many years and many millions of dollars building equity around ‘Life’s Good’ by showing they’re innovative in everything they do and that the technology they deliver enhances the quality of the life you lead today. Their ads heavily feature LG technology in the home, busy improving the quality of life and demonstrating that ‘Life’s Good’ is more than just a punchline. The creation of their brand image has been consistent and I love LG and their products, I’ve been a great admirer of their ads, but for me this ad misses the mark. From the perspective of a brand building professional, there are few things more frustrating than seeing a brand that’s invested so much in building a unique market proposition and a strong brand image, distracted from their path by the glittering prize of a flash ad. Have a look at the ad and let us know what you think.

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As an agency we spend much of our time helping clients to build brands that shine through in the creative process. If you’d like to talk with ua about how we can help make your brand shine, give us a shout.

Malcolm Harvey


  1. I know what you mean. I’m always amazed when I see a new ad and then I get a big surprise when the brand isn’t who I’m expecting because the ad just seems so off brand. When I first saw this ad for Origen Energy, I was sure it was for Tesltra as it used the type of stop motion animation that Telstra owned in my mind: I’ve noticed Origen now have their brand mark plastered on the screen the whole time when the ad plays.

  2. An interesting read Mal and always good to get a different perspective. Interestingly though when I saw the ad last week I had a different outlook – I thought is was a clever move from their standard commercials but after reading your views I have to say that I now agree with you. Still though Life’s Good and I’d love one of those televisions.

  3. I agree with you Malcolm – this ad really got me thinking about how advertising really loses site of reality – it’s a television, it’s a company that sells televisions and majority of the things they are highlighting in the ad are due in part to people spending too much time in front of the television. This ad makes me want to turn the telly off, maybe even get rid of it and get out and live my life.

    A thought from the talented Michael Leunig –

  4. I think it’s a pretty good ad actually. It does evoke emotions in me, of restraint and freedom, the modern life of man/woman. But after all it is advertising. And advertising has to solve the difficult question of what is the difference between a LG TV, a Sony TV etc, ect? nothing really. They are all good, expensive, flashy and have the same(ish) picture quality. At the end of the day there is nothing that sets the products apart, except its personality.

    Here is a sony ad

    I do however enjoy the fact that a TV can liberate us, which in my opinion has the exact opposite effect.

    • Julie,

      I agree the ads nicely shot – differentiating yourself from the competition is absolutely the key – not leveraging the brands name and reputation until the final 5 seconds of 60 would seem to me to be at the heart of what’s wrong here – up to that point this could be a Sony TV ad…

  5. I’m a great advocate for finding the right emotional link between audience and offer. This expensive ad fails to make the link relevant but certainly draws you in with the emotion. Although you may be left with a feeling of disappointment, I found myself wanting to make sense of the emotion in relation to the product. The net effect of this is increased awareness. i.e. if the audience spends time trying to reconcile emotion and logic, recall levels may be stronger. If awareness is the goal, than I think it works. As you point out Malcolm, the question is than: at what cost?

  6. How does a TV help us to break free of the constraints we all see in our lives? They box us in more!

    I think this is also a total audience misread. I bet the majority of drivers when it comes to purchasing a huge flat screen TV are blokes who love sport or action flicks. This ad is hardly likely to stir those guys into action.

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