When I logged into Facebook last night, one of the first things that appeared in my newsfeed was “best commercial I’ve seen in a while“, posted by Too Shy to Stop writer Erin. Of course, I had to click the link!
The one-minute ad spot, for Travelers Insurance, features a cute dog worried about losing his most prized possession: a bone. He can hardly sleep because he is worried someone will steal it. Hiding it in a bowl, burying it in the backyard, and placing it under a pillow are not enough.
(Pictured at left: Not as cute as Travelers Insurance dog, by Photos8.com)
During most of the commercial, the only human voice we hear is recording artist Ray LaMontagne singing. At about 50 seconds, a man declares: “When it comes to things you care about, leave nothing to chance.”
How does this commercial succeed, and why does it make someone like Erin want to post the link to her Facebook wall? The ad spot relies on visual storytelling; the viewer follows the dog in a series of events that become fairly predictable. The viewer becomes invested in the dog as a character because he exhibits human traits like worry and concern. It doesn’t hurt that the dog is cute!
Travelers Insurance tells a compelling visual story and then associates its brand with this story. In addition, the company doesn’t even have to understand social media to include social media in its marketing plan. Their ad spot is fairly traditional, but, by posting it on YouTube, the company gave the commercial wings to make it fly in the social media sky. Viewers that like it will do all the work.