A picture is worth a thousand words.
That's what they say.
And I think it is fair to say that everyone loves pictures – especially anyone creative. It's the first thing we see before reading any words and our brains make assumptions without us even realising.
This ad by Saatchi & Saatchi London for Marie Curie back in 2021 launched a National Day of Reflection on the first anniversary of the day the UK went into lockdown.
This day was designed to bring the nation together to remember those lost during the pandemic. Since the first lockdown began over 670,000 people have died in the UK with more than 139,000 of those deaths relating to Covid-19. These films really hit home and begin to personify the number of people we have lost.
There's a saying, "a picture is worth a thousand words", and these adverts embody this for me - with only images and text alongside an emotional soundtrack they really make it all seem a bit more real and personal—whether you have lost someone or not.
Now time has passed, I want to look at these in a different light.
When they were first released, everything relating to the COVID-19 pandemic was incredibly raw.
Everyone in the world could relate in some way; the pandemic and its effects impacted everyone. For me, these adverts also demonstrate the power of an image.
Stripping these films back to the bones, they consist of still images, copy and a music track. So why was it, and why is it still, an iconic piece that sticks in my mind some 2 years later?
The images of chairs and possessions that appear on the screen tell a story. Maybe you have a similar chair or know someone that has a similar pair of sunglasses and straight away you’re reminded of them. Or maybe it makes you think of someone you’ve lost and their favourite mug, chair or necklace. Without knowing what this film was made for, it triggers a connection in our minds whether we want it to or not.
For me, it’s the beauty of the simplicity, the rawness of the images accompanied by names all supported by a fitting music track.
When working with clients, one of their key requirements is that they want impact; a sense of excitement or emotion.
This usually translates to a punchy, energetic music track and fast-paced footage which is creatively edited. And there’s nothing wrong with that, necessarily.
I find both these films impactful and emotional despite there being no punchy, energetic music track, or fast-paced footage. There’s real beauty in slowing everything down and allowing the viewers to take it all in, letting the brain make the unconscious assumptions without any need to spell it out.
I work mainly in B2B marketing and with tech clients, so some of the asks can have a lot of tech jargon, or they are practical rather than emotionally focused.
But no matter what the ask, it’s remembering that these audiences of IT managers, CEOs etc are people, just like you and me. And people like people—they like real stories, real experiences and real emotion.
So next time you're faced with a brief that asks for something impactful and memorable think of these ads, and how taking it down a notch can actually elevate it.
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