Ads are an art form uniquely suited to our age, their brevity being part of what makes this so, their explicit motive to sell something also being a part of it.
Of course, there are usually more bad ones than good ones, and at worst ads represent the most annoying aspects of materialism. And yet, as I have explored in my posts on Volvo’s Jean-Claude Van Damme ad and Heineken’s “Odyssey” ad, the best of them can pack in almost as much meaning and feeling as good feature films.
In the latest of ingenious marketing campaigns I’ve come across, Vodafone has begun a series of ads called “Firsts.”
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Their own promotional literature puts it thus:
“Vodafone Firsts connects people with technology to empower them to do amazing things for the first time. Our series of films follows these people as they try to accomplish their goals.”
The results, as in this short film about two old Dutch ladies riding a plane for the first time, are marvelous. Though there are shorter clips on the YouTube channel for Vodafone Firsts, I really recommend you watch the full version. It’s only 10 minutes, and you won’t regret it.
The beauty and lessons here, of course, are self-evident: finding bountiful joy in the simplest of pleasures and marveling at the wonders of both the modern technological world as well as the natural world which we miss and take for granted everyday while wallowing in our miseries. This is one of my pet themes and I’ve written about it repeatedly in posts about The Walking Dead, the movie Gravity, and others.
Ad campaigns like this one, to me, represent the best of both worlds, a model example of an entity that is by nature profit-driven (a large company doing business) effectively synergizing realistic motives with idealistic ones. Vodafone’s ad makes people smile, laugh, feel good and perhaps even pause to reflect on one hand, while surely attracting the desired attention to their business cause on the other. And the great thing about it is that instead of selling their goods through the age-old method of appealing to people’s subconscious fears and base desires, they appeal to people’s equally powerful desire to be inspired and lifted (pun intended).
And that is money well spent and earned.