This ad for the Waitrose supermarket chain is very nicely made. It uses the talent of a big name director Tom Tagholm (who proved his chops convincingly with work for the 2012 Paralympics, taking the tape for Gran Prix gold at Cannes with Superhumans). Three things strike me about this ad:
A young boy researches gardening and makes the decision to plant his own crop in the back yard. His mum obviously supports his endeavour - but doesn't interfere, except to bring him in out of the rain. He tills the soil, plants the seeds, scares the crows and is no slug on pest control. When the bounty of the harvest is revealed and he proudly serves his assembled family a feast of roast veg.
The commercial is beautifully shot, edited and matched to a music track that evokes empathy without stretching too far into schmalz (even if it is a bit too Coldplay for my taste). Avoiding the temptation to show the family as loving supporters gazing on in admiration (or any other layer of unnecessary emotion to prove some communal bond or interpretation) and neither is the kid shunned or neglected. He's just doing his thing.
The segue is to Waitrose's produce aisle. A young employee is restocking the carrots and the voice over announces: "When you own something you care a little more - everyone who works at Waitrose owns Waitrose.". When I realised what the ad was for I half expected an obvious pronunciation that the produce was as good as if you'd grown it yourself, or a condescending - we grow it better than you could yourself. But no. It is a simple statement about the one thing that makes Waitrose different from, say, Tesco - implied, not stated - human scale and humanist values.
The story, the technique and the point are all are neatly and economically interwoven - though the sotto declamation at the end clearly signifies that this is an ad.
There are conventions in categories. They just evolve and become universal truths - it's marketing entropy - everything ultimately migrates to the black hole of the centre of the positioning grid.
Beware of universal truth - your ads should project something of your brand that no-one else can claim. That might be something oddball - the classic VW ad - it's ugly but it get's you there - comes to mind.
Waitrose are part of the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. The staff are called partners and are participants in a cooperative scheme that grants bonuses to employees based on their pay scale and discounts on goods. The claim in the ad is completely aligned to their practice.
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.