Oh, hello. “A travel state of mind”.
Have you got one of those? If not, it sure looks fun to get one. That’s the feeling I’m left with from Eurostar’s Travel State of Mind, which offers a pithy antidote to the ongoing detach vs connect debate that’s proliferated over the past year like a bad case of athlete’s foot. “The world opens up, and so do you” rings true. But it’s the layers that underpin this premise, French pastry-like, that are most pleasing. An energy is brought out by the richness of the visuals and the pace of the editing that feels reminiscent of the spontaneity of a Eurostar trip. It’s all sandwiched between bookends that depict the reassuring sense of keeping moving forward that, to me, helps characterize Eurostar over air travel.
But does advertising always need to capture a theme of the moment or cut through and resonate? Well, it definitely helps – as shown by McDonald’s Shops. Have we reached peak flat white, it asks, pointing out that sometimes you just want to get your hands on a reasonable cup of coffee rather than fish barista whiskers out from your unnecessarily expensive and overcomplicated skinny-capp. Point succinctly made, at the right time, in a well-observed way, and the performances of the disgruntled punters are suitably blunt enough to help viewers project their own on to them. Cool beans. Oops, that was a pun. Does it matter? I’m told it does. Sorry.
L’Oreal Paris and Prince’s Trust All Worth It, meanwhile, is all about self-worth as opposed to self-doubt. It’s an important theme, definitely of the moment, especially as the propensity for self-doubt has probably never been so high. With the ubiquity of social media, there’s peer pressure from every angle. It could well help to give strength to some, thanks to its clarity of message. I do have a gripe with the setting, though – minimalist, photographic backdrop with the lighting exposed at the start, single wooden chair, spokespeople dressed stylishly yet simply to bring out their true character etc. Very well-trodden ground.
Uniqlo’s Because of Life, conversely, feels unfamiliar. Going against the grain in a sector that can feel awash with floss and lacking depth, this tries to get under the skin of the product. Benefits are treated in a conventional way among the process – that is, identified, isolated, unmessed-with – but brought to life in a way that feels unconventional. However, the functional and practical tone of the brand boarders on the utilitarian, and rather makes the spots bereft of warmth. They’re so focused and intent that it’s quite difficult to feel any emotve reaction to them. Maybe that’s intentional. Or maybe they’ve been drinking peak flat whites out of science beakers at hipster coffee joints.
Sport England’s This Girl Can: Phenomenal Women. Inspiring people to get exercising or doing sport must be a very difficult brief indeed. There’s so much other amazing stuff that you’re up against that has gone before. But this is about attitude, isn’t it? So who cares what’s gone before? If you’re up for it, you can do it. That’s what this captures. And it feels different to brand-led stuff, anyway. It’s much more raw. It’s believable, real, with almost palpable emotions. That’s why it works so well. Oh, Zeitgeist. Hello again.
This was originally published in Campaign.