Your brain on coffee: Taylors of Harrogate.

As noted by a clearly switched-on chap tweeting about this ad, “when an advert takes your eyes off your phone, it’s done right.”

Dual-screening is second nature to many TV viewers these days. Although that’s often seen as a cause for concern, it is an opportunity to make more creatively diverse advertising. One way of doing that is to use completely different audio and visual conditions from the majority of the ads on TV.

That’s the reason I want to talk about Taylors of Harrogate’s first TV advertising campaign, launched in May. Coffee brands tend to employ aspirational lifestyle marketing with stylish visuals, steamy cups and the undoubtable selling power of George Clooney.  I expect part of the insight behind the Taylors’ campaign was the knowledge that many coffee buyers are not particularly loyal to one brand and in such a crowded category there was a need to do something completely different, in order to stand out.

The idea of the ad was to express the journey of the brain ‘on coffee’ and to focus on the sensation behind drinking it, instead of the aftermath or events associated with coffee. No voiceover was used and the only text came at the very end of the ad to show the brand and tagline ‘Welcome to coffee’, with the aim of peaking curiosity in viewers. The soundtrack of the ad was an unusual 19th century composition, complete with birdsong. The effect of watching this, sandwiched between several ads with demanding visuals and loud voiceovers is pronounced and more importantly, memorable.

Crucially, the campaign wasn’t just a pretty TV ad. It was combined with a series of pop-up coffee rooms around the launch, a dedicated site created with social-sharing in mind and a series of useful how-to videos on YouTube. When I decide to comment on an ad on Twitter, I rarely find more than one or two tweets from other users talking about the impression the ad left on them. When I looked at #welcometocoffee, there were dozens.

Welcome to coffee, indeed.

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