You know the feeling. After you saw Apple’s “Think Different” or Nike’s “Write the Future.” The little shiver. The nose burn. The feeling that what you just saw was just a little bit more than what you were expecting. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about chills, and what goes into them. A few elements rise to the top:
1. A human insight. This is most important. This is the inadvertent gut check the communication gives the viewer, the obvious understanding-without-having-to-think, the personal connection. All advertising strives for this in one way or another, but the best, chill-inducing content delivers on personal, universal experiences. The big things and the little things give chills, but rarely the things in the middle. It’s either a small truth that resonates universally, or a global truth that reminds us that we’re just a small piece of an astronomical puzzle.
2. Great production value. It’s gotta be well thought out and executed. All the t’s need to be crossed and the eyes need to be dotted. Extensive thought and planning needs to be put in.
3. Brand connection that’s genuine, not preachy. The brand’s a vehicle to tell the story, not the story itself, and the connection to the brand can be surprising…it’s easy to forget that chill-producing ads are even meant to sell anything at all.
As more and more advertising skews to digital and social, it seems that less and less work is “chill-worthy.” Certainly chills are not only produced by TV spots or video, but these are the communications that have primarily induced them in the past–it seems to be the medium where moving brand stories are best told. It’s hard to think of a digital banner or a Facebook promotion that evokes the specific, unique feeling of chills; that you’ve just seen something different and really special, something that resonates personally. It’s not to say that there aren’t many fantastic campaigns that only live in the digital space, but the nature of our multi-screen world may be that it’s just a little bit harder to produce content for those mediums that gives that little jolt. If the context in which a user interacts that content isn’t conducive to chills (scrolling through your phone for the minute before the bus comes, or waiting to checkout at a store, for example) then it’s going to be hard to achieve that emotional connection.
Because multiple screens are today’s reality, it’s a more difficult endeavor: creating content that’s compelling, contextually relevant, and personal enough to resonate. Content that understands where a consumer is and what their motivation is in that space. Content that tells different parts of a story in different places, at different times. All of these factors are obstacles to chills, but not insurmountable ones. Take a recent campaign from Intel and Toshiba called “The Beauty Inside”. It tells a story of a person who wakes up as someone different every day: the product (a Toshiba notebook) takes a backseat to the story the webseries tells. It’s well crafted, well produced, and context has been considered: the content on Facebook ladders up to short videos, and hooks the user to want more. If someone encounters it while waiting for the bus, the content’s engaging enough to watch on a phone but also to convince a user to take a closer look when they’re in a context where they have more time to spare. This spring, we also crafted a campaign for one of our clients, Publix, to further the reach of their chill-worthy Mother’s Day spot: we knew our longer-form 60 second brand spots resonated with our customers, and by embedding them on Facebook, where we have an existing, engaged community, we were able to reach our customers when they were in an environment where they were comfortable and open to our message (the Facebook content was live in and around Mother’s Day). LOTS of chills ensued (if you do watch the spot, make sure to get your tissues handy…it’s a tearjerker).
It’s up to brands to get smarter than they’ve ever been about where their consumers are and what they’re doing, to push creative to stay connected, innately, to consumer motivation. Because, at the end of the day, it’s the chill-worthy work that changes people’s minds, that sticks, that builds a solid foundation for advocacy.