A recent advert for sweets brand Skittles shows us a world in which a man cannot touch anything without it turning into Skittles. The advert – The Skittles Touch – says nothing positive about the brand, the taste of the sweets or the price, it simply tells the audience: Look how much of a laugh we are.
Just like the mainstream music industry will often ‘borrow’ from underground trends, television advertising is now taking from the internet. The aforementioned Skittles advert doesn’t overtly sell the product, it just does what a good YouTube video does. It makes people think “This is a laugh, I’ll tell my friends about it”, covertly planting a kind of positive reinforcement in viewers.
Adverts with a loose connection – or no relation at all – to the product aren’t all that new, of course, but it’s undeniable that there has been an increase in them over the last few years. Two of the biggest examples are Muller’s 2010 clip about a cow who wants to be a horse, and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk gorilla. Again, these clips don’t scream ‘BUY ME NOW, YOU TRAMPS!’, they instead let the viewer know they’re around should they be needed. And this softly, softly approach does pay off, with both Muller and Cadbury reporting increases in profit in the period after the adverts aired.
The Dairy Milk gorilla and Muller adverts also feature animals prominently. And, as can be attested by pretty anyone who’s ever been online, animals are pretty popular on the internet. Cats, in particular, are all over the bloody place. This is one of the most famous examples: