I know it is Valentine’s Day and you’re eager to go out and enjoy the night with your special one or with some friends, but take just 2 minutes to watch this brilliant ad that Turner Network Television (TNT) did for its Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg) market. Although it is almost two years old, whenever someone asks me what I think was the best “live” ad done in recent memory, I would always show this ad to those who asked me.
So why is this ad really good? In my opinion, it’s good because it has three things: the format in which it is done, the “shock effect” that it has, and the breadth of target audience that it targets. Let’s start with the first factor. This one-minute-and-forty-five-seconds segment was done to promote TNT’s first entrance into the Benelux market in Europe. While TNT needs no introduction in America (it is one of the biggest media corporations and is available in more than 98 million American households), it still wanted to do something big, really big, to have a positive and lasting first impression on its new European market. And how did it choose to do that? Not only through broadcast ads (TV and radio), print ads (newspapers and magazines), internet ads, but also a “live” ad. And this, for me, was the most interesting and also important aspect in its campaign. Rarely will you see some company go all-out on its choices to increase visibility, but for TNT, a media giant, it was necessary.
Secondly, the advertisers obviously knew what they were going for: drama. That’s why there was a button that said, “Push to add drama.” It invites people to come check it out, instead of traditional ad media where it just pops up in front of you and, more often than not, you ignore it unless it is extremely captivating. Additionally, having the button there to invite people also lets them have the sense that they were part of the drama. They could say, “I started some serious drama on that quiet square,” and they would be right (albeit it not being “real drama). The important thing here is that the ad was interactive; the only thing that could have made it more interactive was if the actors involved the person who pressed the button, but that might pose some risks.
Lastly, having the “live” ad, which centered around TNT’s theme of “Drama,” was crucial in sending the message to the European market that, “Hey, we know what we’re doing!” Those who were physically there at the “quiet square where nothing really happens” will forever have the chaotic scene embedded in their memories and will more likely than not tell their families and friends about their experience. In the end, all this word-of-mouth really helps the presence of TNT. While the ad was geared towards the theme of drama, anyone could have pressed the button and subsequently been involved in the “show.” The open-endedness of the button expanded the target audience to almost anyone who is curious and wants to mix things up a little bit in a boring square. It’s true that not having a clearly-defined target audience means less focus and therefore less hits, but in this case, being ambiguous definitely helped more than hurt. It would have been weird if the sign had said, “Push the button to add drama, but only if you’re [insert target demographic here],” wouldn’t it?