One of my favourite ever campaigns is Phillips' 'Sense & Simplicity'. It was created by Carat and DDB in the US back in 2004 but it's one of those campaign ideas that can live on and on. Like 'Absolut..'. I also think it was ahead of its time and very of the credit crunch moment.
Phillips' research showed that consumers wanted to simplify their experiences with technology, the world is stressful enough. Phillips and its agencies decided that the idea of simplicity was a brand truth and something Phillips could own. I also like the idea that in a sector which is all about being the fastest and most techie, Phillips wanted to make a virtue out of being the simplest and slower. Broadband player Comcast also successfully tapped into this with their 'Slowsky turtle' campaign.
Carat realised that the simplicity message conflicted with traditional, interruptive media. The medium had to be the message. Two of my favourite executions were for cinema and print. Sadly, the cinema ad never came to light because short-sighted Screenvision (who sell ad time) felt it was 'poking fun at the advertising industry'. Judge for yourself. Phillips wanted to buy pre-movie ad time and use it to shorten the time the audience waits looking at ads before their film starts. They wanted to run an 'ad' of silence and blank space offering the audience a pause point, simplicity, followed by the strapline: 'We could have run a four minute commercial. Instead, we chose simplicity.'
I also love their table of contents sponsorship campaign. Similarly to the invasion of cinema ads, ads are front-loaded in magazines making it a real chore to find the contents page. Phillips decided it would simplify this experience and pay for a table of contents right at the start in mags such as Time, acting as a brand concierge. The strapline on the page read: 'Simplicity means not letting complexity stand in your way. It starts with a table of contents on the first page.'
The result was a campaign that engaged with consumers desire for simplicity, clarity, and respite. I think advertising will become increasingly about branded utilities, driven by social media.