The power of total wrongness

In Tony Kaye’s ad for the Museum of Jewish Heritage (up on the previous post), a collection of (real) people talk about Nazism. A young guy insists “Adolf Hitler wasn’t a bad guy at all…he actually had a lot of good things to say and if people had read Mein Kampf, they’d know”. A girl says “the Holocaust museums and…all these millions and millions of shoes…boo hoo! Half of it is bullshit. I’m sick of seeing it on TV…it’s just as regular as Saturday morning cartoons.” And another guys claims that “it’s already practically proven the the gas chambers never existed.” The litany of ignorance and hate goes on. It’s grim, uncomfortable and heart-breaking to watch. It’s also compulsive viewing.

It got me thinking about the power of the dark, the disturbing, the counter-intuitive. In his latest book, Predatory Thinking, Dave Trott points out that 4% of advertising is remembered positively; 7% is remembered negatively; and 89% isn’t remembered at all. Which is a pretty sobering reminder about the importance of standing out. After all, if your campaign isn’t remembered, you might as well have flushed your client’s budget straight down the toilet.

Here’s an ad that wouldn’t have been in the 89%. Tone of voice can be such a powerful tool in creating standout (think ‘Cog’ or ‘Gorilla’ or ‘Dumb Ways To Die’). This one combines ‘sick’ with ‘awkward’ and ‘light-hearted’ to create a unique tone of voice I’d describe as ‘total wrongness’. Which isn’t a tone you’d use on your average FMCG brand but for this brief, it’s perfect. We have to be extremely sensitive and responsible when dealing with such serious issues. But ultimately our job as communications experts is to move people, to change their minds, to inspire them to action. And the first step is to create work that forces its way into people’s minds and stays there. You may not like the ad above but you have to admit, it’s totally unforgettable.


About antmelder
Executive Creative Director at Host/Havas Sydney; passionate vegetarian; lover of books, boxing and Bruce Springsteen.

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