Way to go, Starbucks!
The brand completely took over the marketing, pop culture, and the sociopolitical conversation this week, which is quite an achievement. If only it were for a happier reason. There will be no place on this list for Starbucks, but if there were an award for “making people feel uncomfortable,” the coffee chain would surely have picked up the top gong this week. Its probably well-intentioned but wildly ill-advised foray into race relations, #RaceTogether, has been, as our own Joe Berkowitz discovered, a source of awkwardness for everyone concerned, with the possible exception of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
Although debating the right place and time to discuss racial issues and the role of brands therein has been high on our agenda this week, we really would prefer to talk about cats.
Read more about them and our other picks for this week’s best in brand creativity.
What: A fun spot for new cat toy and treat dispenser, “Snacky Mouse,” which forces cats to whack their way in to get at the treats.
Who: Mars Temptations, Eve&AdamDDB
Why We Care: For once, cats appear in a commercial that is for a product actually relevant to cats. And they do boxing. The smart spot also shows exactly what the product does and why it will fly off the shelves.
What: The anti-gun-violence nonprofit opens a “gun store” in NYC as a hidden-camera social experiment to debunk safety myths.
Who: States United to Prevent Gun Violence, Grey New York
Why We Care: The looks on people’s faces when they hear the deadly stories behind the weapons they are looking at indicate just how well-thought-out this campaign is. People think their lives will be safer if they own a gun, whereas studies show ownership increases risk of injury and death.
What: A film showing how the brand teamed up with EnChroma to introduce glasses that enable colorblind people to see colors.
Who: Valspar Paint, FCB Chicago
Why We Care: Color is something we take for granted–for most of us, colors are just there. The stories of people seeing colors for the first time is strangely moving and totally in keeping with the paint brand’s purpose.
What: In food-truck- and BBQ- and brand-infested Austin, GE set up a “BBQ Research Center” and invited guests to see a scientific approach to better barbecues, including a BBQ sauce workshop.
Why We Care: Brands have been increasingly muscling their way into SXSW, and this year, there were many complaints that they had taken over the event. However, this activation from GE emerged from the noise and whingeing and moaning by being relevant and interesting. Read more about it here.
What: Series of short spots for VW’s Passat TDI diesel car, featuring three entertainingly shouty ladies busting myths around diesel vehicles.
Who: Volkswagen, Deutsch LA
Why We Care: The three funny spots do a great job of grabbing attention and correcting misconceptions at the same time. Diesel engines are not noisy anymore. Who knew?