Follow That Gorilla

What makes a great ad? I’m not talking about success, which is boring, but greatness; a great ad is one you talk about at work the next day. A great ad is one you stop and enjoy every time it comes on. A great ad is one you actually look for on YouTube because everyone tells you how great it is.

Take, for example, the Skoda Fabia cake ad, or just about any Guinness ad, or the sublime Honda ‘Hate Something, Change Something‘ ad with Garrison Keillor, which I would quite happily put on my iTunes. Even the ‘Ambassador’s Reception‘ ad for Ferrero Rocher must surely qualify as a great ad (and a successful one), albeit by a slightly different standard of greatness.

The trouble with great ads is that they raise expectations to levels that the creative agencies then struggle to reach. Guinness and Honda are two brands that have managed to do surprisingly well at keeping things interesting in their ads, but even then, Guinness’s massively expensive ‘Domino‘ ad felt disappointingly like old ground. Look, it’s like that one Honda ad, filtered through all the Stella Artois ads! Turns out my fascination for the quirky pastimes of gap-toothed provincial beer-drinkers only extends so far!

Cadbury has also struggled to follow up on an iconic ad, namely the prize-winning Gorilla ad, which was so widely talked about that I think I heard it described three times before I ever saw it. I was thus unreasonably excited when I happened to be in the right place at the right time for the debut of the follow-up, Airport Trucks. And I watched, and I waited, and… the advert ended. It was just some trucks! Where was the twist? So boring!

In retrospect the Airport Trucks ad is not as bad as all that; it’s just no Gorilla. And now we have come to the third ‘Glass And A Half Full Production’; Eyebrows.

What do we make of this one, then? It feels like an attempt to recapture the Gorilla magic - unexpected behaviour with a musical flavour - but does it work? The CGI on the eyebrows put me off, but I’ve come to realise that a lot of people are pretty blind to ‘natural’ CGI, so that may only bother me. This may be another Airport Trucks - it’s certainly no Gorilla - but I will say this; the balloon is brilliant.

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7 Responses to “Follow That Gorilla”

  1. Jill Says:

    I’m a thumpingly literal middle-class housewife from Surbiton, and I really don’t understand whether Cadbury’s Dairy Milk causes the uncontrollable facial tics or cures them. It’s not clear at all from the ad!

  2. Helen Says:

    I loved it - made me laugh out loud - the CGI just makes the kids look really odd, which is good. Loved the balloon.

  3. burge Says:

    The Airport Trucks ad was first shown, with an incredible bit of bad timing, on the day on which Heathrow Terminal 5 opened. Imagine if you will, how well it went down in my house as I settled my beloved, just returned from T5 after a four hour delay and without his luggage, in front of the telly to be shown *that*.

  4. Ewa Says:

    I didn’t like the Gorilla ad until they redid it to Total Eclipse of the Heart. Awesome!

    Or did I just dream it?

  5. Marysia Kay Says:

    I think it leaves me cold because I want to be impressed that someone can actually do that with their eyebrows, not dazzled with cgi. Although the balloon bit was quite good. I don’t think I ever saw the gorilla. I’ve done a few viral ads, afaik none of them went viral. In fact I’ve only seen one of them.

  6. Wilfredo Says:

    You know something? The logical part of me knew it was CGI, but most me put that aside to make the commercial more enjoyable. The dancing man was funny midway because it started to remind me of Snoopy dancing.

  7. Maggie Says:

    The girl… looked like SATAN… or one of his cohorts.

    I’m sorry, i just don’t trust her.

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