Before you take a look at the video below, I would like you to prepare your mind for a barrage of inexplicable madness. Don’t get me wrong, I will attempt to explain it and establish what was going on in the minds of its creators, but that will certainly be a difficult task.
In terms of what you will see in this video, it is a fairly simple, albeit demented, concept. Your eyes are about to be met by a man covered from head to toe in ice cream (normal), proceeding to spoon the sweet treat off the top of his head (standard), and enthusiastically lick the spoon (of course). The cherry on top of the Sundae (pardon the terrible pun) comes in the form of a set of insane looking eyes that seem to be threatening to pop out of this human ice cream cone at any point. So just another day at the office basically. Enjoy!
So just what is the thought process here?
This advert essentially uses the same shock tactics that are employed by charities in an attempt to draw attention to the issue they are addressing. As can be seen in this article, shock tactics have been employed with increasing regularity by organisations and even, more recently, companies. In fact, I wrote a piece a few months back which listed 5 disgusting adverts (you can read it here).
The video you have just seen (and are probably still watching in sheer wonderment) appears to have no real relation to ice cream, except for the fact that the product has been used to smother a grown man’s entire body. There are no cows (or any dairy-related images for that matter), and no hot beaches that might necessitate some ice cream.
It seems as though the Baby’s Ice Cream people have endeavoured to embed the name of the product into the mind of the reader, and they have certainly done that. Thanks to the director’s warped yet inspired take on everybody’s favourite frozen treat, Baby’s Ice Cream will now always be associated with a mad goggle-eyed, spoon-licking, ice cream-covered man.
The man behind this mysterious ad is Doug Garth Williams. In an interview with lbbonline (click here to check it out), Williams tells of how there was no specific brief from the company, and that he was given complete creative freedom to unleash the inner workings of his mind on the general (hopefully open minded) public.
“Ice cream comes complete with its own implicit branding” he says. “We think of childhood, summer days, innocence and family. We turned all that on its head. It’s a very unusual and somewhat disturbing commercial and our pre-existing associations with ice cream provide the perfect context to amplify those aspects even more. That’s the reason it’s been so successful.”
There is certainly a good point here. Such madness might not be seen as so ludicrous if it were being used to promote another type of product, but the very fact that the ad is promoting such an innocent and joyful product only serves to enhance its effectiveness.
“The question is ‘Would you eat yourself?’ And the answer is ‘Yes. You would. You just taste too damn good.’”
Williams goes on to explain how the nature of the advert is actually in keeping with the innovative approach adopted by Baby’s Ice Cream: “the brand itself is all about playing with the expectations of ice cream. They create unique and unexpected flavours like ‘Balsamic Banana’, ‘Earl Grey Sriracha’, and ‘Bourbon Bourbon Vanilla’ which surprise people. One might initially think that even though this campaign has been wildly successful at getting attention, it is an inappropriate match with an ice cream company. However if you dig a little deeper into the company you’ll realize the videos mirror what they are trying to do themselves.”
While it is clear that Williams has not just strung together a thoughtless piece of wacky imagery and thrown it the way of Baby’s Ice Cream, it is also obvious that, in commissioning Williams, the ice cream company wanted to embrace his unusual, dramatic approach in order to launch a completely ‘out there’ campaign that would most likely go viral; and that is certainly a good thing when you don’t have the biggest budget in the world.
It is, if you think about it, the perfect strategy for many reasons, the most important of which is the Baby’s Ice Cream target demographic, which comprises (mostly) open minded people who gleefully sample the likes of Bourbon Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream. These people are more likely to be intrigued by a creation like this than appalled. In fact, when dealing with this demographic, it is often a case of the weirder…..the better.