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Spot on Spots: Expect the Unexpected


There’s something to be said about the element of surprise: in advertising, it can either be incredibly effective or just plain fall short. Like all ads, it’s about putting together that perfect blend – striking images, excellent copy and great sound. If it’s the right formula, the right balance, then you’ve got something memorable. Creating ads with twist endings requires a keen attention to all details- just one aspect out of place and the ad can flop.

I first saw this ad in college in 2006. While it may not be the “best commercial ever,” I have always remembered this one because of how engaging and entertaining it was. Let’s set the scene: one grocery store, one tired-looking dad, one young boy and one HUGE tantrum. We’ve all seen it, though perhaps not to this extent. The over exaggeration of such a run-of-the-mill situation makes you chuckle, and the kid’s very loud wailing and outbursts sure keeps your attention. In the end, all it takes are two words, one call to action and one logo to make the twist. Clever, eh?

This ad came out recently. It’s only been on Vimeo for a week, and it already has 26 million views. Again, it’s a familiar set of events, a reference to the film The Exorcist. And if you don’t get the reference, at least you know something very eerie and creepy is going on. While it’s a little longer, the rich visual effects, great casting and slow but steady lead up pulls everything together.

This ad is an example of where a “surprise” ending falls short. The ad has had a fair bit of hype, an article in AdAge, and it’s featured on multiple advertising blogs. But maybe it’s my lack of prejudice (hooray for me) or the fact that I didn’t feel as intrigued as I did with the Dirt Devil commercial. That same ominous tone just isn’t there in this ad. You be the judge.

That perfect combination of style, tone and creativity has the ability to make any advertisement soar. To really get a surprise ending ad to work, you have to be even bigger stickler than usual. Can our Type A perfectionism get any worse, uh, I mean, better? Well, guess what? It’s got to if you want a really great unexpected ending ad!