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Up in Arms About Ads 5 – Eye candy and insurance

In the past few months, my TV commercial bullsh*t detector has been working overtime. Some commercials have been like the “little girl who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead. When she was good she was very good, and when she was bad she was horrid.” So, here are some good, or at least inoffensive, commercials. Amongst those companies that got it right ❤are:

  • Van Cleef & Arpels
  • Trivago.ca
  • Tangerine Bank
  • Belair Direct Insurance
  • Canada Pension Plan
  • Smartburner

In the case of all commercials, high production values do not a good commercial make. Remember that. You can spend any amount of money on filming it and still have a dud product. And if you are, you’d better ensure they are good in all respects (concept, design, actors, voice overs, music, etc.), otherwise you will regret the expenditure.

Trivago – again

1. Here is the handsome Trivago.ca man, Tim Williams, these days decidedly more natty-looking than in the beginning of this campaign.

1. Here is the handsome Trivago.ca man, Tim Williams, these days decidedly more natty-looking than in the beginning of this campaign.

3. In this one, called “When have you last”, Tim charmily poses in a shower, nicking the shampoo, like all guests do in posh hotels. I particularly like the awkward pause to reflect on one’s misdeeds.

2. The Trigavo ad team have their tongues firmly in their cheeks. They do not take themselves or Tim too seriously. In this spot, called “When have you last…”, Tim charmingly poses in a shower, nicking the shampoo, like all guests do in posh hotels. I particularly like the awkward pause to reflect on one’s misdeeds.

2. The Trigavo ad team have their tongues firmly in their cheeks. They do not take themselves or Tim too seriously. In this ad, “Multiple Rooms”, tim plays himself as “room-mates to keep at arms’ length”. I like the peacenik with the long hair.

3. In this one, “Multiple Rooms”, Tim plays himself X 4 as “room-mates to keep at arms’ length”. I like his version of the peacenik buddy with the long hair.

4.Since 2013, in Québec, Canada, the commercials do not feature Tim Williams, but French-speaking 24-year-old Emma Leth in a rather maudlin, down-beat story. You know, sexy girl doing sexy girly things, looking at the camera like she’d like to lick you or something, with a winsome grin. Judging by the media reports and the chatter on social media, Quebeckers can’t take it anymore. The television buy’s frequency is just too much for many. Kingstar Direct Media is reported to have planned and bought the media for this carpet bombing campaign. I’m still OK with the repeats so long as Trivago alternates the TV spots.

4. Since 2013, in Québec, Canada, the commercials do not feature Tim Williams, but French-speaking Emma Leth in a rather schmaltzy story. You know, sexy girl doing sexy, girly things, looking at the camera as if she’d like to lick you or something, with a winsome grin.

Apparently, Québécois(e) can’t take the girly French version anymore because “…the television buy’s frequency is just too much. Kingstar Direct Media is reported to have planned and bought the media for this carpet bombing campaign.” I’m still OK with the repeats so long as Trivago alternates the TV spots. I need my dose of Tim!


Tangerine Bank – Work hard

1. In the Tangerine banking commercials, a foot-stomping song combined with surprisingly convincing looking scenes from “real work lives” make for a likeable, non-irritating TV spot. I like the irritated and embarrassed cab driver - all in a day’s work, eh?

1. In the Tangerine banking commercials, a foot-stomping song combined with surprisingly convincing looking scenes from “real work lives” make for a likeable, non-irritating TV spot. I like the embarrassed and long-suffering cab driver – all in a day’s work, eh?

2. In April, 2016 – In reaction to Canadians who who were asking for the ‘Left, Right, Left’ song they’ve been hearing on TV, Tangerine published the song. The song, ‘Tangerine Hard Work (feat. Voyce)’ by RMWmusic, was originally only created for Tangerine’s new commercial. Now, a full length track and ringtone are available for Canadians to download on iTunes® and GooglePlay®.

2. In April, 2016, in reaction to Canadians who were asking for the ‘Left, Right, Left’ song they’ve been hearing on TV, Tangerine published the song. The song, ‘Tangerine Hard Work (feat. Voyce)’ by RMWmusic, was originally only created for Tangerine’s new commercial. Now, a full length track and ringtone are available for Canadians to download on iTunes® and GooglePlay®.

Tangerine, I forgive you for completely messing up a long-standing and respectable Dutch banking brand, ING, in Canada. If there is one thing I have always associated with the Dutch, is that they are great at making money and being parsimonious. You haven’t lately heard of the Netherlands having a Spanish-style financial crisis have you? In November 2012, Scotiabank completed its acquisition of ING Bank of Canada from Netherlands-based “ING Groep”. (ING stands for “Internationale Nederlanden Groep”, meaning International Netherlands Group”. So, “ING Groep” as per their press release, actually meant “International Netherlands Group Group”. Silly, that. Like saying “please RSVP”. That meant the logo with the Dutch lion and orange colours had to go. The name and the lion, which had always seemed to me intrinsically Dutch and reminiscent of old money, went. The orange stayed, at least. Oranje boven! Hieperdepiep!


Bellairdirect – An almost bearable insurance ad

Yes, well, I hate insurance commercials. Their USPs are always based on death and disaster. Bellairdirect tries at least to put a funny spin on disasters.

1. Yes, well, I hate insurance commercials. Their USPs are always based on impending death and doom. Bellairdirect tries at least to put a funny spin on disasters.

In this case, it is a medieval fiasco with a dragon having set fire to the pathetic hovel. Ha. Finger in your eye, Game of Thrones.

2. In this case, it is a medieval fiasco with a dragon having set fire to the pathetic hovel. Ha! Finger in your eye, Game of Thrones.

Well done PHD for the media buy on the spot, and Martine Bouthillier, marketing manager at Belairdirect, for the bright idea. And Sid Lee, Belairdirect’s knight, who is so dry and laid-back he is almost comical.


Canada Protection Plan – another insurance ad campaign (would’ya believe it?!)

Canada Protection Plan is another insurance group which is another reason for me to hate them. However in this latest TV spot, called “Life’s Moments”, they feature families that look so real they are really appealing.

1. Canada Protection Plan is another insurance group, which is another reason for me to hate them. However in this latest TV spot, called “Life’s Moments”, they feature families that look so real they are appealing. First the families, or couples, pose stiffly. Then they are shown in out-takes with kids running wild, people giggling and falling over or everyone generally behaving like “normal” people.

I like this group where the father poses, stiff as a rod, with his dour-looking kids. In the next scene, he playfully pulls their ears, still with a dead-straight face. It made me smile. Canada Protection Plan’s in-house agency, called The Media Cottage, produces the ads.

2. I like this group where the father poses, stiff as a rod, with his dour-looking kids. In the next scene, he playfully pulls their ears, still with a dead-straight face. It made me smile.

Canada Protection Plan’s in-house agency, called The Media Cottage, produces the ads. Good job, guys. I wonder what the thinking was behind this approach? And are those real families, or actors?


Smart Burner – Yes, it’s a kitchen thing

When this guy came on, just straighforwardly talking about how to keep your electric stove’s hot plates from overheating, I actually listened and got my husband to rewind the ad to have another listen.

1. When this guy came on, just straightforwardly talking about how to keep your electric stove’s hot plates from overheating, I actually paid attention.

The invention is called SmartBurner, and there is science behind it. Like a dotty professor, the guy (an actor hose name is Kelvin which is all I could find out) just keeps pumping out the facts while the housewife behinds him gets her knickers in a knot. The tagline: Smart is sexy. Yeah. I agree.

2. The invention is called Smart Burner, and there is science behind it. Like a venerable professor, the guy (an actor whose name is Kelvin, which is all I could find out) just keeps pumping out the facts while the housewife behinds him gets her knickers in a knot. The tagline: Smart is Sexy. Yeah. I agree.

The ad was part of a Canadian Home Hardware product placement spot, since, in 2014, Pioneering Technology Corp., a cooking fire prevention technology company, announced that it signed a deal with Home Hardware Stores Limited for the retail sale of Safe-T-element cooking fire prevention technology, rebranded for the home consumer as the Smart Burner. Go check it out. This thing has legs as they say in the industry.


Now for the most beautiful eye candy; Van Cleef & Arpels’s Fée Ondine

I was so astonished by the mindblowing beauty of both the product and the video by French jewellers Van Cleef and Arpels of this piece of jewelled art, I just immediately WANTED this. It is called “Automate Fée Ondine”, which means, an automata, or mechanical object, of the fairy, Ondine. So, it moves, slowly and gently.

1. I was so astonished by the mindblowing beauty of both the product and the video of this piece of jewelled art by French jewellers Van Cleef & Arpels, it was instant avarice and lust! It is called “Automate Fée Ondine”, which means, an automaton, or mechanical object, of the fairy, Ondine. So, it moves, slowly and gently. Even the lily pad gently ripples.

“Ondine” is a play written in 1938 by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux. The theme of the water nymph who seeks to gain a soul while in human form is a typical fairy tale, and is also found in the Celtic myth of Melusine.

2. “Ondine” is a play written in 1938 by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux. The theme of the water nymph who seeks to gain a soul while in human form is a typical fairy tale, and is also found in the Celtic myth of Melusine.

The campaign is a quantum leap ahead of any other type of commercial product. Can you call something like this “commercial”? The Fée Ondine video was published on Jan 16, 2017 on YouTube. So far, 30,969 views and numerous re-posts. “On the occasion of the SIHH 2017 [Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie 2017], Van Cleef & Arpels is delighted to unveil its first Extraordinary Object: the Automate Fée Ondine. The fruit of long years’ work and an intense collaboration with automaton maker François Junod, the project also owes its existence to the savoir-faire of the numerous craftsmen who have taken part in its creation.” It is so beautiful, it can actually sell itself, much like all of Van Cleef & Arpels’ jewellery on their exquisitely refined and aesthetically pleasing website. If this thing doesn’t blow your mind you must have a soul of stone. But it’s all oh, soooooo expensive. Not for poor folk like me to buy, only to look at and drool over.

Van Cleef & Arpels’s website is also impressive. Every consideration has been given to present the jewellery in the most soul-stirring, visually appealing manner, drawing on music, photography, poetry, mythology and of course, Mineralogy. There is hardly a mineral or metal that isn’t, in itself, twinkly and pretty. But Van Cleef & Arpels takes it to the max with skill and artistry.

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