Mary Christmas. Emotion makes holiday advertising divine
‘Tis the season for holiday advertising. Most of the advertising is retail. Most of it is fairly predictable. How many biggest sales of the season can there be?
A friend sent a link to this ad created by St Matthews-in-the-City Church in New Zealand. Its honest portrayal of real emotions was refreshing after seeing too many contrived jewelry store commercials. (Who has money for a diamond necklace the day of signing on a new house? People who shop at Tiffany? Maybe. But Kay? Come on.)
One of the things that makes this ad remarkable is it takes something familiar and makes you see it in a slightly different, deeper way – a hallmark of great advertising.
No one really knows a lot about Mary. Many of us have heard her story what feels like a million times. But in all the telling and retelling, it still doesn’t feel like we have any sense of what she was like as a person. What we do know makes her seem different and distant. She lived over 2,000 years ago in a country many of us have never even visited. Where’s the common ground?
This ad succeeds because it overcomes differences and finds a common link that connects women throughout the world and history. Any woman who sees this ad, especially those who have experienced a Clearblue Easy moment, can imagine what she’s thinking and empathize with her. I’m going to be someone’s mom? It’s freaky. It’s overwhelming. It totally rocks your world. And we see all that in her expression.
The use of the pregnancy test in this ad doesn’t so much make her seem modern as it makes her emotions feel timeless and universal. The years, cultural differences, distance and unknowns melt away, and we are in that moment with her.
The outdoor board has no copy. It doesn’t need it. It’s just a simple visual solution that, in mere moments, makes an emotional connection with the viewer. And that’s what great ads do. They uncover a universal
human truth. They find common ground. They make us feel something real and true.
Now, if only someone could tell that to Kay…