They say that laughter is the best medicine. And if the adage holds water, it’s beginning to look like we’re going to need A LOT of it this fall. In the USA, it’s presidential campaign season, and by any and all accounts, this one is going to be particularly ugly, bitter and just down right nasty. As both sides (Democrats and Republicans) have been battling it out in the race to win the White House, the airwaves have been flooded with negative ads, smearing the opposition with attacks that run the gamut from dubious to did-you-really-think-we-wouldn’t-Google-that lies. It doesn’t take a genius to know that the viewing public has grown tired of these types of ads and could clearly benefit from some comic relief. And that’s what makes this latest campaign from Volkswagen so utterly brilliant in tone, nuance and context.
Specifically designed to run during the election cycle, the 30-second spot, aptly title Smiles, sports the tagline: It’s not the miles; it’s how you live them. Smiles breaks rank with the average car ad, by avoiding the display of the automobile itself and the various features housed under the hood. In it’s place is 30, full-throated seconds of a bevy swiftly edited, smiling faces, from all different walks of life, simply, heartily, laughing.
The ad, (created by Deutsch LA), brilliantly showcases our Future Sign: Sunshine State in an irreverent and daring way. Recently we’ve seen great examples of brands utilizing this approach of highlighting the positive while playing the foil (to the negativity) over the last few years, but never with such dead-on aim. This trend is proving to be vital to brands looking to stay relevant in a rapidly declining landscape of positive media. It’s beginning to seem as if the oversaturation of negativity and mis-education actually created a veritable wall of noise for the viewing public to rail against. That in turn makes opportunity for an ad like Smiles, or any other brand trying to spread some happiness around, to shine like sunshine on a cloudy day.
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