Surrealism in Advertising; How Beer Became Beer!! Essay
The intention of this essay is to analyse surrealism in advertising and apply the theoretical background of it and the psychoanalytic theory to a 2003/2004 campaign for Tooheys Extra Dry beer, made by BMF Advertising agency. The essay will try and isolate the surrealist appeal and other factors behind this campaign and explain why and how this campaign became one of the most talked-about advertisements and won the gold in Creative Planning Awards as well as silver in Advertising Effectiveness Awards in 2004. Surrealism and Advertising For the description on surrealism and its theories see appendix A. The Product.
The product is beer. However, Toohey’s Extra Dry (TED) is different from other beers in many ways. Its packaging is different from other beers in its clear and tall bottle (not dark and wide as other beer bottles). It has a green label that is glued to the clear bottle diagonally instead of in a strait manner and big white dynamic letters stating the ‘Extra Dry’ brand. It is a very young brand, first brewed in 1994 instead of 18xx as other beers. However, its most distinguishing feature is its taste; it is much lighter than other beers. TED is not bitter and it is more like other RTD drinks than beer.
The Campaign Tooheys Extra Dry (TED) was a growing brand, even before this campaign was released; however its growth was because of its sub premium price (Nicholas 2004). The clear, tall bottle and an easy taste of the beer could have helped, but it was believed the brand can do better. Previous advertising of TED abided the prevalent beer promotional models throughout the world, the core market being pub going males. The prevailing message was “have a go at it”. The advertisements were of weir accidents of men who did not drink this beer, and the endline was “don’t die wondering”.
The research done after the campaign proved that the idea was not very successful, however the core problem was the strategy. TEDs positioning was between mainstream beers (Fosters) and premium (Heineken). Its appeal was later described by a young participant in a research group: “I like Tooheys Extra Dry. When you walk into a party carrying a six pack you don’t look like a scab [by drinking mainstream beer] and you didn’t look like a wanker [by drinking premiums]” Anon. cited in Nicholas (2004) P1 It became apparent that their target audience were young adults who like taking risks.
Putting that into the account, the resulting campaign, aimed at people in their early twenties, tried a different approach. It involved an enticing product attribute that was unique, cool and youthful. The new campaigns objectives were: -Establish a connection with 18-24 years old audience -Extend the brand throughout the Australia, mainly Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, South East Queensland and other areas. -Maintain the price premium while achieving growth and increase the profit As previously mentioned, the taste of this beer is the biggest distinguishing featureits the unique selling point.
By not emphasising that on its previous campaign, they have not established a truthful distinction and therefore failed. The new campaign strategy was to find out the usual dissatisfaction young (18-24) people have with beer. RTD drinks (ready-to-drink: drinks that are already mixed with spirist, for instance Smirnoff Ice, WKD, VK etc) have been becoming more and more popular and have taken some of the market away from beer. As a result, key dissatisfactions with beer were isolated in a research study. The results were: -Beer is associated with “old” masculinity i.
e. Dad in a pub with his mates -Beer slows you down – it makes you fat and slow -Beer has a bitter taste – it makes it hard to drink in today’s environment that is more focused on sweeter drinks and foods. On the other hand, TED was perceived as a modern drink, drunken by men and women. It is also less filling and therefore does not have the same effect as other beers. Its lack of bitterness is its main feature and is easier to drink. This insight is what led the new campaign. The target audience was set to 18-24 olds as opposed to previous 24-29 year old adults.
The goal was to change what the target audience thought of beer and establish the brand not only as the best beer, but the best alcoholic drink altogether. The campaigns proposition was that because of its unique brewing process as little of negative effects from beer can be present (mostly beer breath). This is how the campaign slogan came to be as – clean, crisp taste. This also resolved the key dissatisfaction the target market had with beer. Because of the crucial distinguishing features this campaign had to represent, a special tone of voice was consisted out of three major components.
The first component was the youth fun feel that had to be established – therefore party imagery was selected. The pace of the advert had to b just right – a mixture between clubby and pub-like (spirits vs. beer). The next important thing was for the marketers to establish a ‘cool’ feel, youthfulness etc). This is why they used the soon to be famous music track. The commercial The commercial is of a tongue that leaves his owner and goes to search for a tasty beer while its owner sleeps. It goes past several dangers until it finally finds the beer at a party full of young people.
It takes the beer and brings it back to his owner. Two posters and a radio commercial were part of this campaign as well. The posters and a detailed description of the commercial can be found in the appendix B. This product has only one memorable utilitarian benefit and that is its light taste. That is why the taste was the focus of this ad – symbolically represented by the tongue, which is the central figure in this add. With the tongue representing taste, this campaign did not state the facts clearly, as in: “TED has a light taste you will enjoy” but rather used imagery to reflect the product attributes.
This all is typical for many surrealistic commercials, as well as the ‘hazardous odyssey’ aspect of it. The tongue was running away from the cat, got almost run over by the car and stomped on the dance floor. It’s blending the real and unreal; the real being the party and the people’s behaviour – and the unreal is obviously the renegade tongue in search of a beer. As previously mentioned, the main target audience was to appeal to young audience; therefore the surrealist appeal was chosen wisely, because of its defiance against conformism (Homer & Kahle, 1989). Clubby imagery, music and passionate kissing at the party reinforced this aim.
It is generally believed that non-conformism has been the most central aspect of any thing considered as ‘cool’ to the young audiences. Some psychoanalytic theory practices can be detected as well. According to the psychoanalytic theory (Hackley, 2005) and Motivational Research, real buying impulses derive from urges and drives and feelings. The perfect party environment and several sultry images insinuate sexual motives that could hide behind party experiences and alcohol consumption and consequently be the motive for purchase. Another typically surrealist feature is the exaggeration of the human form.
The tongue itself is exactly that in this advert, since it can move on its own, is capable of thought and emotion while still remaining just a tongue. The most apparent emotion the tongue portrays is desire. The metamorphosis of the tongue can be explained by the Trickster theory described by Cooper and Petterson in 2000. The tongue would be the trickster; neither good, nor bad but guided by its emotions and desires. This is central to this advert, as it is the desire for the good refreshing ‘clean and crisp’ taste that forces this tongue to take all those risks just to get the Tooheys Extra Dry.
The desire is the motivation for the odisseyadic journey. Conclusion The commercial is odd and free from normal association. We do not expect tongues to jump out of out mouths and search for beer. This is the product of the novelty theory assuring the audience will recollect the ad easier. These surreal techniques combined with psychoanalytic theory make the ‘TED wanting tongue’ a hero (survives danger), a partier and a rebel at the same time. The metamorphism and the surrealist technique reinforces the utilitarian claim of the product performance and its claim of ‘clean and crisp’ taste.
Appendix A Surrealism is a movement that stared in the early 20th century most acknowledged in France. It is most recognisable by the paintings and other visual representations of it by painters and writers such as Salvador Dali and Bret? n. Surrealists explain the human mind in a manner not before conjured. Andre Bret? ns (1920) definition of surrealism: “Psychic automatism in its pure state, by which one proposes to express – verbally, or by means of written word, or in any other manner – the actual functioning of thought.
Dictated by the thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason, exempt from any aesthetic or moral concern. ” Homer and Kahle (1989) describe surrealism as fee of the stereotyped mental habits belonging to artists and spectator as well. The objects are free from normal association. Isolation, modification, hybridization, incongruity, provocation of accidental encounters, paradox and conceptual bipolarity are the ways through which surrealism achieves the maximum impact. In surrealism, pleasure and free will have total control over everything, including reality.
Alcuaz’s (1984) premise is that surrealism as a concept is a state of mind, and attitude and a desire. Magritte, a surrealist painter believed that surrealism is an attack on societies preconceived ideas and predetermined good sence. In surrealism, desire chooses whatever it wants and pleases it; it is not bound by realistic and logical boundaries of perception. Surrealists act defiant to conformism as well. According to Homer and Kahle (1989), advertisers seek surrealist techniques because of their need to gain consumers attention, fuel their fantasies and induce new ways of thinking about previous conceptions.
One of the reasons advertising of surrealism works it the so-called novelty theory. Novelty theory is based on the so-called Von Restorff Effect. This basically describes a phenomena that occurs when people are presented with novelty or unexpected items. Their recall of these items was greater and enhanced in the future. Appendix B In the beginning of the ad, we see a young man, sleeping with a woman in a bed. His face is turned towards us. Suddenly, his tongue jumps out of his mouth and embarks on a quest to quench its thirst.
It moves in a way that is similar to a worm or a caterpillar. It jumps of the bed and goes down the stairs while being chased by a cat. It narrowly escapes the cat when it jumps through a rail fence and onto a road. While crossing the road it gets almost run over by a car. The tongue then enters a party full of young people. A few shots of the party are shown and we see people dancing and socialising in a crowded house. The tongue is going through the party avoiding being stomped by feet of the dancers. Then it gets stuck on a vinyl player but manages to get off.
The tongue successfully manoeuvres past a couple French-kissing and discovers a huge tub full of ice containing several different alcoholic drinks. It manages to get on the edge of the bath and scout the available drinks when it notices a Tooheys Extra Dry on the far side of the tub. After a quick shot of the kissing couple, the tongue dives into the tub full of ice. The underwater environment is clear and crisp. We see the tongue swimming at the bottom of the tub, past many bottles towards Tooheys Extra Dry that is encompassed into ice but still showing its label and the recognisable green colour.
The tongue then quickly grabs the bottle much like a python would its prey and jumps out of the tub with it. It then drags it out of the party back to the bedroom and onto the bed climbing back into its owner’s mouth with is main body still wrapped around the beer. This wakes the young man up and he confusingly looks at the Tooheys Extra Dry in his mouth, takes it out and examines the label. The slogan, ‘clean crisp taste’ then appears at the bottom of the screen and the ad is over. Visuals: Source: Source: Nicholas J. (2004) Source: Nicholas J. (2004).
These examples used as still photos on billboards and such use surrealistic usage of the product; enforcing the notion of its utilitarian benefit: ‘The Clean Crisp Taste’. References: -Homer, M. & Kahle L. R. (1989) A Social adaptation explanation of the effects of surrealism on advertising. Journal of Advertising 15(2) pp. 50-60 -Alcuaz, M. “Contemporary Idioms of Surrealism. Dreamworks 4(1) pp. 59-69 -Cooper P. & Patterson (2000) The Trickster: Creativity in modern Advertising and Branding. Market Research Society Conference.
Available at: http://www. warc. com/ArticleCenter/Default.asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH49151&Tab=A -Nicholas, J. (2004) Toohey’s Extra Dry – Licking the Beer Category. Account Planning Group Australia.
Available at: http://www. warc. com/ArticleCenter/Default. asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH80888&Tab=A -Nicholas, J. (2004) Toohey’s Extra Dry ‘Quest’ – Beer advertising that broke the mould. Sales That broke records. Advertising Federation of Australia. Report. Available at: http://www. warc. com/ArticleCenter/Default. asp? CType=A&AID=WORDSEARCH85608&Tab=A -Hackley, C. (2005) Advertising and Promotion: Communicating Brands. Sage Publications: London.
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