There are commercials that present their product front and center, see Doritios Ad and then there are the commercials that don’t show a product at all, see Las Vegas Ad. Commercials that do not show a product, at least not front and center saying “Here! Buy This!”, are called non-literal commercials.
This post will explore three commercials that are non-literal. They are more like mini-movies with a glimpse of the product at best. During the exploration, the brand will need to be boiled down to a 3 word expression of what the brand stands for in a positioning statement. For example, Las Vegas, “Adult Playground.”
The first commercial that we’re going to explore, is a heart-warming one from Dodge Ram. Pay attention to the lighting techniques used on this one, it is incredible! The use of sepia tones and grainy black and white photos really set the tone for this commercial.
The Ram commercial begins with a bleak photograph of a single cow in front of a snowy field, and Harvey’s voice says, “And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, I need a caretaker. So God made a farmer.”
The ad depicts farmers as hardworking, devout, sensitive people who are loyal to family and their community. The two-minute ad features the voice of the late radio broadcaster, Paul Harvey speaking over dozens of documentary-style photos showing the hard work and challenges facing farmers and ranchers each day.
“And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, ‘I need a caretaker.’ So God made a farmer,” Harvey said as the ad began.
“God said, ‘I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper, then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.’ So God made a farmer.”
The last shot of the commercial is a simple image of a Dodge Ram Truck sitting in front of a barn.
Dodge Ram wanted to honor hardworking farmers who use trucks on their farms.
Hardworking Like You
The next commercial is from Bridgestone Tires.
We are taken on a hysterical ride with a male driver and his female passenger. As they’re driving down the road, a squirrel happily sees an acorn fall in to the middle of the road. The squirrel runs out to feast on his new treasure and then hears a car.
The squirrel looks up and hilariously starts screaming like a human would.
Then random other forest animals start screaming, bunny, owls, turtles, etc… and the female passenger all scream out in fear.
The driver, who is confident and completely calm, easily swerves around the frightened squirrel. He honks his horn and goes along on his way.
Closing the commercial we hear, For driver’s who want to get the most out of their cars, it’s Bridgestone or nothing.
To show Bridgestone tires are safe in a hilarious way.
Safe with Bridgestone.
For our last commercial, we will explore Tide’s way of showing how good they can remove a stain.
In this commercial we see two men watching a ‘49ers game together on TV. One of the guys spills salsa on his shirt, and it falls in the shape of Joe Montana (a Hall of Fame past ‘49ers quarterback).
He dubs this a “miracle stain”. The “miracle stain” goes viral, and the average guy enjoys the fame (MontanaLand!) that goes along with his “miracle stain”.
The video ends with the average guy’s wife washing the shirt and removing the stain. We then see the wife whisper, “Go Ravens!”.
Tide puts a message at the end saying, “No Stain is Sacred”.
Show that tide will remove really bad stains in a comedic way.
Tide Removes Stains
In closing, I really didn’t imagine watching commercials was going to be so much fun. The three I selected really stood out to me as being great storytellers. Whether they were shown in a documentary-style (like the Dodge Ram commercial) or in a comedic way, they all held my attention for the entire time. I was thoroughly entertained!