Agency Aces: Using Insights to Build Great Creative for Commemorative Days

Digging into the world of advertising, Kyle looks at what insights creatives are using to birth original concepts that build affinity between brands and people.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, the only day of the year where not only is it acceptable to be tipsy before 7pm, it’s encouraged. Now that we’ve addressed the alcoholic elephant in the room, we can shift our attention towards the insights behind commemorative days like St. Paddy’s. The type of insights that provide creative work with not only a great starting point, but a clear direction to follow. The same insights that create that shimmering lure, as brands connect ideas with various audiences.


St. Patrick’s Day: Guinness

Insight – Finding time for a casual drink with friends has become quite difficult.

Over 80 million men and women globally share Irish blood with a further 6 million that inhabit the island of emerald green. One of the bigger celebrations globally, St. Paddy’s is the perfect time for Ireland’s national icon, Guinness, to promote what has become its own (genuine) black gold. AMV BBDO considered how modern life sometimes gets in the way when we try to find time to meet friends with this viral advert. By comparing a group of mates to a flock of easily distracted sheep trying to get into a paddock, it’s clear to see just how stuck in our own world we can become. With St. Patrick’s Day and the social behaviour that it’s tied to, a drink with your mates is now an excuse to ignore the girls, football matches, curry houses and celebrate with a few mates over a pint of the choice drink for St. Patrick’s Day.


April Fools’ Day: Netflix

Insight – People trust a brand’s most successful attribute

There is nothing quite like a brand playing a joke, resonating with people and, more importantly, getting a laugh while building brand awareness. We’ve seen it before, brands playing a prank – but Netflix, who have over time become very successful at funding and creating their own documentaries, are a great example, played out classically during April Fools’ Day last year. When they announced that John Stamos was getting his own documentary, who were we to disagree with a studio that’s won multiple awards? As it quickly turned out, Netflix was taking the proverbial mickey out of their eye for great entertainment. To give that prank a sense of realism, the trailer for the fake documentary with a video, where the ridiculously good-looking Mr Stamos has a meltdown in their offices. Then they pushed it one step further with the Netflix chief content officer issuing and apology. Not only did Netflix do well to use their trusted success at creating their gag, but they used it as the insight for a prank that was believable and had enough legs to create multiple content.


Valentine’s Day: Galaxy chocolate

Insight –  Desire is Inspired by our Senses

Valentine’s day, the international day of love, a guy and a girl, a guy and a guy, a girl and a girl, a guy that used to be a girl and girl that used to be a guy… this day celebrates love between all couples (that’s what we’d like to see at least). But where does this feeling come from? Common myth is that Cupid (the love-child of the goddess of love Venus) is set to have wielded arrows, that when us mere mortals where shot with one, we do not feel pain (I’m sceptical) but instead, fall in love. Challenging conventional myth, creative powerhouse AMV BBDO (again) shot a beautifully visual advert that sees Galaxy chocolate take love’s centre stage. This concept had all the risk of coming across as cheesy, but by using the general idea that cupid is perhaps not such a good shot, articulated with artistic flair, Galaxy and AMV BBDO could prove that starting with a simple insight, that desire is inspired by our senses, can make all the difference to the creative direction and have a sweet tie-in with a day so many people celebrate.


Thanksgiving: Dodge Ram

Insight – Overcoming hardships define who we are

Thanksgiving is the annual holiday where Americans celebrate all the different things in their lives they feel grateful for. It usually involves a roast turkey over a family lunch, like Christmas without presents basically. Car brand Dodge flipped the thanks over, and decided to use worship instead, in their campaign for the Dodge Ram. Having become the everyday working man’s vehicle, it makes sense for Dodge to appeal to the hardworking everyday men and women. Praising our difficulties may sound ridiculous at first, but with each challenge we face as humans, no matter what the result, we are not going to come out the other side the same person as we were before. We live, we learn and hopefully we rejoice. The genius behind this Thanksgiving ad is that before giving thanks, we need to overcome these hardships that we reap the rewards from, only then can we be truly grateful. Hitting the right nerve and sentiment can be tricky with creative, and Dodge hit the nail on the head with their relevant ad tied into the day of thanks.


Using commemorative days to leverage your creative off is a great way to ensure relevance, it gives your brand the perfect medium to piggy back on and be seen by the public. For brands to make sure their campaign is unforgettable, they need to dig deep and make sure they can create work from insights that tie in with the theme of the specific day in question. So whether it’s comparing getting the lads together to a shepherd herding a flock of sheep, or how a brand’s success can make us gullible… starting with insight can drive home unique, original and unforgettable creative.

At Pulsar, we are dedicated to revealing the billions of insights hiding in the very DNA of human behaviour. Get in touch with us here, and we’ll show you how you can use it to improve your campaigns.



Kyle Ryan