Oasis vs. Prudential: two very different honesty plays

The current Oasis campaign made me smile, pull over and take a photo.

Oasis "advertising doesn't work on you"

Oasis “advertising doesn’t work on you” execution

The battle for consumer attention is unrelenting. It’s increasingly hard to cut through no matter what your medium. The Millennials Oasis are trying to influence are more than likely glued to their smartphones not inspecting the new 6 sheet at the bus stop.

It’s impactful and cheeky. It’ll be at the back of my mind the next time I’m at the drinks chiller. They’re like a trusted peer sharing a secret, inculcating warmth or reciprocity.

But even in our post-modern, media-savvy era it’s pretty bold. Where do Oasis go from here? Creative options may be somewhat constrained in future when you’ve taken honesty to its logical extent. That’s not to mention the consistency issue. The sugar content of soft drinks is a hot topic for consumers and campaigners like Jamie Oliver: honesty might prove a difficult policy to maintain.

Prudential’s US TV campaign was brought to my attention this week by the excellent Freakonomics podcast. They too are making an adult-to-adult honesty play. This time it’s about facing up to life’s realities: we’ll live longer than we expect, and have less saved than we need. So far so boring.

Two elevating factors are:

Prudential/Droga 5: using visual metaphors to communicate intangible (boring) life realities

Prudential/Droga 5: using visual metaphors to communicate intangible (boring) life realities

It is somewhat surprising state of affairs: as Stephen Dubner says it is almost “advertising as public service announcement.” This is a corporation taking learnings from behavioural science about how we make decisions – like present tense bias – and making us engage with them to encourage us not to limit our long-term happiness. This is truth-telling and we feel like trusting them after seeing the ads. They’re invoking at least 3 of Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence here.

My question is: is this advertising the category, the brand or the product? I’d love to see results on the campaign’s effectiveness. If I was a few years older it might trigger investigation. But would it trigger investigation with Prudential?

In summary: two honesty plays, two audiences and two very different communication goals.

About Simon Shaw

I'm a Director at an insight consultancy. I'm interested in marketing, market research & consumer psychology. The views expressed are not necessarily those of my employer.
This entry was posted in Behavioural Economics, Branding, Consumer Psychology, Decision Science, Demographic change, Marketing, Strategy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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