Up in Arms about Ads 3 – Machiavellian emotional manipulation
TV commercials never cease to amaze me, mostly by the sheer lack of plausibility in their argumentation. They are meant to persuade, but some agencies couldn’t argue their way out of a paper bag while armed with a bread knife. If you are going to base your ad entirely on emotional appeal, then go for it, make it heartrendingly good, ditch any attempt at being factual and scientific.
An ad to love
A case in point: I’ve fallen hook, line and sinker for this ad for Cesar Dog Food, “Love them back”, with the little Westie keeping the old man company while he visits a grave. No voice-over, just music. Snnnnfff…Aw! Gimme a hanky! I like this one more than its silly predecessor where the woman with the too-short skirt tried to bend down to put the dog’s bowl on the floor without embarrassing herself. While Cesar’s ad puts it in competition with other dog food ads telling sweet stories about man’s relationship with dogs, this ad’s production values puts it ahead of the others. The “Love them back” campaign is by agency AMV BBDO, directed by Andy McLeod, with cinematography by Stéphane Fontaine, set in North-West Croatia (not Italy, that it looks like) and it stars an 85-year old Macedonian man who is half deaf and blind and speaks no English. Yes, it’s Machiavellian emotional manipulation. But we are officially charmed.