A new tip for the new or newish Creative.

When given a TV brief, many teams come up with scripts that depict a normal or everyday situation, with a twist at the end.

This can work well. But the fact is - it has to be a helluva twist to compensate the viewer for the previous 25 seconds of boredom.

I believe you are much better off creating a commercial that is 'funny all the way through.'

In other words, a commercial where the entire situation or set of actions is inherently funny (or surreal/interesting/bizarre/beautiful/dramatic), rather than normal or familiar.

By way of example, here's two 20-second ads for the same brand. The first is an everyday scenario with a funny gag at the end; the second launches very quickly into a fresh and funny mode of behaviour.


WKD 'Bath'


WKD 'Drill'

Whether they are good ads or not isn't the point here, I just want to state that the second is clearly better than the first.

Recent awards juries back my view.

Looking at the Gold and Silver-winning commercials from this year's BTAA, here are the ads which (in my view) are funny from the beginning:

Skoda Cake
Sony Music Pieces
Cadbury Gorilla
Sony Play-Doh
Boots Here Come The Girls
Levi's Dangerous Liaison
Sony Music Pieces
Procter & Gamble Interview
Bryclcreem Effortless
The Big Yellow Storage Company Tide
Volkswagen Night Drive
Vodafone Time Theft
Vodafone Cartwheel
Volkswagen Toy Story
Adidas International Impossible is Nothing - David Beckham
Thorntons Stuck
BBC Amazing Music - Russell Brand

And here are the ones (all three of them really good ads, incidentally) that have a twist at the end or near the end of a 'normal' or stock situation:

Boots Moment of Truth
Carling Space
Carling Out

I think a lot of Creatives start out by writing ads that are jokes, naturally with a punchline. And of course there are many cases - Volkswagen 'Surprisingly Ordinary Prices' Lamp Post for example - where the normal-situation-followed-by-punchline structure works well. But... they're quite rare. Especially compared to the number of really bad ads that use that structure.

So my tip today is to try to think of a funny or interesting situation that has the brand promise woven into it, rather than just writing a joke.


Previous Tips:

How To Do Virals; How To Get A Pay Rise; Be Wary Of Punding; Challenge The Brief; Tell The Truth; Playing To Lose; How To Write Headlines; How To Do Direct; How To Do Radio; How To Do Press; How To Do TV; How To Do Digital; How To Do Posters; Look At Weird Shit; Presenting To The Client; Presenting To The Team; Presenting To The Creative Director; How To Deal With Rejection; Look Creative; Don't Be Afraid To Ask; Your Idea Has To Be 120%; Read Iain's Tips; Don't Behave; How To Discuss Ideas; Read Hugh's Tips; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ; Make Friends With Traffic; Get Reference; Don't Stop Too Soon; Be Very; Breaking Up; Working Well With Your Partner; Finding The Right Partner; How To Approach Agencies; Never-Seen-Before Footage; Dicketts' Finger; Two Blokes In The Pub; Play Family Fortunes; Should You Take A Bad Job?; Don't Overpolish

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