I don’ know what makes an effective advert. Presumably it must stick, if not in the conscience then in the subconscious. You would think it important that it is clear what product is being promoted yet there has been a trend for several years for adverts that leave you guessing. Some adverts doesn’t appear to be selling a thing but a life style. Some tell short stories, romantic comedies, all action adventure, conveyed in images of rebellion, independence and freedom that are initially more interesting than the programmes they interrupt. Clearly there is a lot of psychology goes into an advert.
Whether or not a particular advert increases sales some are more art than science. It’s the combination of music, movement, colour and composition that stirs the emotions in a rather pleasing way. I have noticed the very young are capable of appreciating an advert when they can have no understanding of what it is about, theirs is an emotional response. I see this when watching tv in the presence of my not yet 2year old grandson. He becomes excited and very attentive every time a particular advert comes on.
He doesn’t have the words to tell me why this advert and to date no other advert excites and pleases him. So I have tied not to look at it as an advert for a bank but to see it in isolation as a piece of cinematic art.
The story is set at night . People of all ages come streaming out of their houses carrying torches. As dawn brakes they are seen clambering over the sand dunes. Black horses thunder along the sea shore kicking up spray. The people and the horses come together. There is a friendly horse for each person. The people laugh and smile as the horses nuzzle them and they in turn stroke and pat the horses.
The opening scenes are a what’s happening? The horses have fluidity of movement and power , they add excitement, rhythm and intrigue. They convey a feeling of joy. Little boys understand the fun of running and splashing. The people go to meet the horses or do the horses go to meet the people? The horses may be big and strong but they are friendly. Young children are attracted to and fascinated by animals. They instinctively want to touch and stroke. This is clearly about the horses.
The story has a happy ending. Children like happy endings it makes them feel safe.
To my media weary eyes the whole thing is sentimental and cliched lacking the necessary ambiguity. There are no layers to it. Nothing to make you wonder. Yet for my grandson it stands out amongst hundreds of adverts pumped into his living room every day. Don’t tell me it’s horses. He has shown no particular interest in horses, he has no toys horses or books that feature horses and his favourite cartoon is Pepper Pig which has not featured a horse in the many episodes I have repeatedly viewed. So what is it about these horses within the context of this story? I don’t know and he can’t tell me.
Blair Mcpherson www.blairmcpherson.co.uk