AD WATCH: Turn Creative ECD's most/least favourite ads

AD WATCH features marketing industry figures providing their opinions on what they think is some of the most inspiring and disappointing work they've seen. As long as it's not their own!

In this edition:

tony hon image

Tony Hon

Executive creative director

Turn Creative Limited


HOT: Häagen-Dazs Japan’s Instagram account

In the good old days, building brands was easy. All it took was a nicely done commercial, a couple of print and outdoor ads, with just enough media budget to allow them to run for two years. Voila! A beloved brand was born.

Today’s advertising scene is a bit more complicated. It’s shattering and changing rapidly. Advertisers have to be smarter and more knowledgeable about spending their marketing dollars. A company’s content on social media is the face of the brand, and it’s getting more and more prominent, especially for younger and premium target segments. A lot of advertisers treat social like a promotional message dumping ground or something short term.

That’s not clever.

Every little thing a brand does is part of the brand; the overall style and tone have to be carefully managed. It takes dedication and passion for making it work. Häagen-Dazs Japan’s Instagram page is a vivid example of how a social profile contributes to one’s brand positioning and business. The content is diverse, yet interesting and consistent. The food shots are elegant, romantic and tempting, as if to tell you subliminally that the premium price you pay is justified. It simply works. That’s the power of branding. I wish I did that.

NOT: Hang Seng Bank SimplyFund

I saw a local bank commercial which introduces a new investment tool.

It seems to clearly be targeted at young people in their twenties, as its intention is so apparent. In the commercial, a group of young men and women all gathered together. They were laughing, jumping up and down, and taking selfies (of course). They all have a lovely, youthful look, and seemed very happy, perhaps a bit naive, but worry-free, and energetic. Then, out of nowhere, they started talking about investment. It felt forced and unrealistic.

That bugs me. Where’s the insight? What kind of response is it trying to generate? Why were they styled, directed, cast and scripted this way? Overall, the commercial looks dated, superficial and silly. Is this the image of young people nowadays from the older adults’ perspective? The fact is, the best way to connect with young people is to see things through their eyes and listen to them wholeheartedly. Be their friend.

The commercial is a clear attempt at brand building. It is a great window to refresh the brand and make Hang Seng Bank look younger. However, it has failed to do so. The ad budget is not well-spent, and I’m not too fond of it.


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