Aman Govil, Production Marketing Manager for Google led an experiment in 2012 that carried a simple question: Can a good idea last half a century? The team behind Project Re: Brief sought to do that. The documentary chronicles the journey of the Google team in partnership with lead advertisers from four companies who had some of the most iconic ads in history.
The Google advertising and marketing teams would expand on history’s most iconic campaigns, and try to sell them to the new generation of executives at each brand.
Four brands, four classic “Will the sequel be just as good?” challenges.
In 1962, writer Paula Green wrote one of the greatest slogans in advertising history: “We try harder.” It was the phrase that defined Avis, a rental car company infamously known to be second to Hertz. The branding team representing Avis decided to turn this notion into a positive, and from there, declare to the world “We try harder because we’re second best. You don’t need us, we need you, so we go the extra mile.”The campaign ran through commercial and print.
The documentary details the Google team working to create an innovative way to showcase how Avis “tries harder” and cater to the digital age. After their initial banner ad idea was rejected by the brand, the audience watches as a team of illustrators and software engineers collaborates with the creative team to create an application that turn real-time positive reviews into short mini-films to be shared on social media and Avis’s website. The cuts and zooms used during this process really showed the pressure the team was under to deliver something perfect and incorporate client feedback.
“Hilltop” was the ad that defined a generation by Coke.
Coke united the characters, and since then we’ve seen campaigns such as “Share a Coke” and more. Harvey Gabor was the creative mind behind Hilltop, released in 1971.
Re:Brief showcased a solution that made the mission of “Hilltop” a reality. The team made vending machines that would allow someone to literally buy someone across the globe a Coke, along with a message. The story of point A to point B tugged at the hearts of the viewer as they listened to Gabor sing the original song with the storyboard of the new idea.
Alka-Seltzer has been easing overeating pains for decades, and the iconic ad that defined a generation was the story of Ralph, and how he “can’t believe he ate the whole thing”. Ralph’s wife says “Well, you ate it. Take two Alka-Seltzer”. The audience never learned what “the whole thing” was but everyone can relate to the feeling of eating so much that you’re ready to tip over. Bob Pasquelina & Howie Cohen were the creative minds behind Ralph, released in 1972.
The team decided to add some context and show the viewers what actually happened the day that Ralph ate “the whole thing”. They created a micro site telling various stories of what the food might have been and what the conversations might have been between Ralph and his wife. Visitors of the website could also click on Ralph to decide how the story might go. The camera shots, zooms, and screen grabs, along with narration, made the documentary viewer feel like they were writing the story themselves, and nearly felt what Ralph felt before taking his Alka-Seltzer. Interactivity became the solution. As an audience member, I wanted to experience this!
The final client, Volvo, wanted to promote the fact that their cars were durable. The brand decided to market the tagline “Drive it like you hate it”. Amil Gargano was the creative mind behind “Drive it like you hate it, started in 1976 through print and commercial.
The creative team decided to keep the basic idea of durability, but instead shift to a customer story that shows what happens when you drive a Volve like you love it. They tracked down a man who had 2.7 million miles on his Volvo, and created a live stream campaign detailing “the Journey to 3 Million Miles”. Viewers of the documentary saw the set-up process for such a live stream, and I felt like I was on the drive with the subject. I reflected on all the places I’ve driven in the 114,000 miles on my car.
The Google team through this documentary, in my opinion, successfully told the story of not only the creative process in advertising, but also told the story of strong ideas, and how they can outlast generations. Each idea was well-received by the client, and now I know by the viewers of the film. It made you feel like you were in the boardroom the whole time and became emotionally attached to the projects.
I loved this documentary, and would recommend it to anyone looking to learn more about creativity.