First of all, there are the eyes. Then the sweater vest. And it’s a stuffed panda bear. Even before you know this is the first-ever brand ad for Tile, the tracking service and device brand, you are emotionally invested in why this poor little lost panda is so lost and adorable and SOMEONE JUST HUG HIM ALREADY.
Created with Deutsch, the spot tells the story of Lucy, a little girl who loses her stuffed panda Ernie, and was inspired by a real-life Tile customer story in which a little girl lost her favorite stuffed toy then found it with Tile’s help. The brand is also posting “Lost Panda” posters around New York and San Francisco. Later this fall, Tile is also releasing a children’s book, Lost & Tiled: Ernie’s Journey, showing Ernie in 12 unique look-and-find illustrations inspired by real Tile customer stories.
Tile Chief Marketing Officer Simon Fleming-Wood says part of the goal was to illustrate that the brand is more than just a tracking device, but also a millions-strong community. “Our goal from the start has been to shift the perception of Tile from that of a functional tracking device to a brand with an emotional connection,” says Fleming-Wood. “We hear so many stories where Tile devices help our users, but the most emotional are when the Tile community works to reunite someone with their lost object. It’s a story we can all relate to. We all have an object that holds an irrational amount of meaning, and we all have a story where, through the help and kindness of strangers, our lives were made a little better.”
Using emotion to tell a story is one thing, doing it while also being an effective product demo is another, and here with Ernie the Panda’s help, Tile manages to pull off both. Fleming-Wood says that was the biggest challenge, to figure out how to strike a balance between an emotional pull to capture consumers’ attention while also effectively communicating how Tile works.
The brand’s key target audience is a consumer segment Fleming-Wood calls “Good Neighbors,” people who are motivated by helping others and inspired by being part of something that makes a difference.
“We spent hours with ‘Good Neighbors’ during our research phase, and one consistent thing we heard is that everyone has an object that is more than just an object–something that holds an irrational amount of personal meaning that would be devastating to lose,” says Fleming-Wood. “Our approach was to leverage this insight to demonstrate the feeling of hope renewed when the Tile community finds the thing you love but lost.”