I can’t get over this wonderful project Google is doing called, Project Re: Brief. In it, the folks at Google take great advertising from the past and have the original creatives re-look at the big idea and how they might apply it in today’s advertising and marketing landscape. The first project looked at the classic Coke commercial from 1971 where a group of people from around the world sang to the world that they’d like to buy them a Coke. Harvey Gabor, the original Art Director who was part of the team that developed the ad came back and met with Google and developed an idea that he thought would communicate the idea today. The idea he developed was brilliant and the marketing team at Coke loved it and implemented it immediately. Gabor proved to everyone involved that a great, big idea transcends time and translates into any medium.
For the second great ad from the past, Google contacted the creators of the original Volvo advertising to see how they would re-imagine their big idea from 1962. The team is now legendary and in all the advertising history books having founded one of the greatest agencies of its time, Ally & Gargano. “Be blunt, open and honest. Find the truth, and then hit people over the head with it,” were the words they lived by.
When Volvo decided they wanted to introduce their Swedish-made automobile to America they asked Carl Ally and Amil Gargano to help. The truth the creative duo uncovered for Volvo was that their cars lasted an average of 11 years which was double that of their American counterparts. Based on this, the agency developed the line, “Drive it like you hate it.” The campaign is considered one of the greatest in automotive advertising.
When Amil met with the Google creative team he told them that “technology left him in the past and that he typically ignored it.” He also said that “great advertising is great storytelling,” “a message is a message,” and that it was “content that mattered.” Universal thoughts for the team to develop some refreshed, re-invented ideas for a technically savvy audience.
Volvo’s brand has evolved since Ally & Gargano helped introduce the literally anonymous automobile to Americans nearly 50 years ago, but the essence of the brand is still “brutally real.” So the team decided to keep the car still as the star. They built on the “toughness” idea and used the insight that Volvo enthusiasts had been longtime members of 100,000 mile clubs and that one gentleman in particular had a sixties Volvo with nearly 3 million miles on it. So they developed a theme of “three million miles of memories,” and created a series of web display ads for tablets. The ads tell stories about the car and even allow you to ride in it and experience it
Never has there been such an exciting time to bring great ideas to the modern technology that allows us to tell real and better stories easily to everyone in so many ways. The ability we have now to connect to consumers with the content they want is the avenue for continuing to create and communicate with excellent, memorable, true ideas that move people and build great brands. In the words of Amil Gargano, “Content is what matters.”