3 Minutes 3 Seconds

Last Friday a friend sent me a YouTube link. What it held was an advert for “TrueMove H”, a Thai mobile operator, from 2013. In short, this 3 minute TVC (Television Commercial) doesn’t “tug” on your heart strings, it clamps to them like a vice and swings from them until you’re a blubbering wreck. The proposition is based around the altruistic joy of giving.

After watching this ad and feeling (I’m not ashamed to admit) pretty choked up, I sent it to a select group of people in a text entitled ‘Tear Jerker’.
The range of responses I received was comical, but also interesting and has been the impetus for this post…

  • Housemate’s reply: “Stop sending me adverts, I’m not watching this. Pick up lemonade, the cheap one”.
  • Mum’s response (broad northern accent): “Jesus love, I’m at work and in floods of tears! Have sent it to Barbara”
  • Colleague’s response: “No, I’m not having this at all, it’s just an ad, the sentiment is not substantiated by anything whatsoever, it’s just trying to sell me something!”.

My colleague’s response (a fellow analyst) was the one which snagged me.

We subsequently chatted about his brash statement and soon established a debate whereby I was the protector of such creative concepts whilst he was the challenger, arguing that they were manipulative and did not move him emotionally at all.

My colleague is a new father, so I expected the lack of sleep and general delirium created by his new born to have made him a prime target for such a TVC, but he demolished it in 5 seconds.

I battled on…

If we are asked about memorable moments, I argued – we often draw on times of heart-break, ecstasy, shock or amazement, the extremes of our lives. We remember when emotions were strained or stretched. Like many, I feel that pushing the extremities of our emotions is what makes us feel alive, and this is what the TrueMove ad did for me, it transported me from an artificially lit office in rainy London Bridge to a Thai hospital and broke my heart.

If people are asked about favourite stories, be it movies or books, they will often cite ones which moved them, when they turned the pages with tears running down their cheeks, or when they stayed on the tube two stops more than they needed, because the chapter was just too damn mind-blowing.

Great creative evokes those feelings but not through two hours of cinematography, or through three hundred pages of hard back book, it has a couple of minutes to enter your life and rock your world.
Yes, ultimately its goal may be to shift product but people don’t see an ad and dive for the phone in floods of tears to switch tariffs or providers, creative is just one touch point in a brands overall offering and I simply argue this example touch point is an excellent one.

If, in just a couple of minutes, someone’s idea can muster biological reactions within you that curl the sides of your mouth or raise an aching lump in your throat then I want to be a part of that industry.

My colleague says “Get a grip man!”.
I say, “Ogilvy & Mather (Bangkok), take a bow”.
What do you say?


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