ON THE ART OF THE ADVERTISING MISDIRECT
I know this reblog is long but if you are too lazy to watch them all, at least watch the first one.
A favourite tool of advertising creatives is that of the misdirect. It is a device that leads the audience to expect one kind of story or message before a completely different message (and, usually, the product) gets revealed at the end. Here’s a classic example, a gold winner at Cannes, directed by the fantastic Perlorian Brothers:
This next Cannes-winning campaign (also from the Perlorians) deliberately misleads the viewer as to which health problem is being discussed.
This campaign is particularly brilliant because in Canada (where it originated) advertisers who mention the name of their prescription drug cannot at the same time speak about the condition the drug treats.
This next spot (directed by the great Spike Jonze) is a misdirect not so much in the product, but in the emotions the viewer is asked to feel.
To be clear, not every piece of communication that takes you to a different expectation is a misdirect. Consider, for example, the very fine website http://www.babycarrots.com/
It deliberately uses the language and design of junk food advertising to make the point that baby carrots are an awesome snack. But at no point do they hide the product or pretend to be advertising something else, so we can’t accurately call this a misdirect.
Misdirects work very well in TV and radio. But they’re harder to pull off in print, as we see here:
Yes, the ad has you believing it’s for a fine restaurant until your eye hits the logo. But as my students have pointed out, the ad is not particularly arresting, and it might not keep the reader’s attention long enough for the reveal. Quite so. In TV or radio (where less activity is required of your audience), you have a better chance of crafting a story that makes people wonder how it will end.
Nicely put Trudy.