In Advertising, we mostly see ads that make us feel a certain way. Captain Morgan commercials, along with many other alcohol ones, make us feel daring and adventurous. Clothing ads make us want to look sexy and fun. Food ads usually make us hungry or laugh. It takes a lot of thought in designing a message to go with a product. One factor to consider is ethics.
Is it ethical to put this ad out? Does it harm someone? Is it truthful? Is the claim an authentic one? Does it treat people with respect? Is there equity between sender and receiver? Is the ad socially responsible? These questions come from the TARES Test of Ethical Persuasion. TARES stands for truthful, authentic, respect, equity, and socially. For class we were supposed to find an ad that passes this test.
The ad I chose was the Extra Gum ad about the origami paper birds out of gum wrappers. I thought that the story, message and ad placement flowed beautifully. Here is the commercial.
This ad conveys a message without saying any words. The only words used in the entire thing is Extra’s slogan, “Give Extra, Get Extra.” This commercial isn’t selling gum. It’s selling relationships. In this particular commercial, it is a father and a daughter’s relationship. We follow them through the years of the daughter’s life and the different phases she goes through. The first scene is her learning. She learns something new (origami birds) from her father. This goes into the second scene with them playing. She plays like any child would. The next scene is her and her father on her birthday. Here she is Growing, another year older and the paper crane is out of sight to them. The next scene shows them at a game together, when she develops a personality of likes and dislikes from what her father has shown her. Next she is at the beach but she is stressed as a teenager. She does homework and listens to her headphones while on a relaxing beach day. Her father teaches her appreciation of the world around her by getting her to look away from the books for a second at the bird. The next scene is her taking a piece of gum from her dad as she leaves with her friends somewhere. She is independent and doesn’t necessarily need her dad to teach her anymore. Then she learns sadness, whether from a boy, or a bad friend or anything and her dad brings comfort. The bird symbolizes her dad who has always been there for her. On the biggest day for a child’s life, her father packs her things up for her to leave for college. She has learned all she has needed to learn and she doesn’t need her father anymore, he thinks. He drops a box filled of paper cranes he made her all her life. The message is that even though time will allow us to change, we will learn and we will grow, we take away what we’ve learned and the people we love and keep them with us forever. All her life, her father gave her his extra love and care. She gave it back.
When people think about gum, without this touching commercial. You don’t exactly think of the enjoyment you get out of it. Gum usually is shared. Whether you accidentally open a pack in class and people flock to you, or you open it for others to enjoy, gum is always shared. It creates a relationship. Extra sold us a relationship, not gum.
Is the ad truthful? Yes. He built a special relationship with his daughter. Everyone has a father, whether they are here or not. Most people have someone in their life that they had a relationship like this with. People associate with growing. People learn, grown, change and move on with many things in their lives. Some go to college and some move away. These are true experiences that people do daily.
Is it authentic? I think yes. It isn’t the fact they enjoyed extra gum, its the relationship they built out of the paper that became special. It’s basically saying a lot can come from a stick of gum. It’s a conversation starter or a new possibility. People long for these feelings and relationships. Who’s to say they can’t happen?
Does the ad treat the receiver with respect? Yes. If you give a little, you get a little. It’s selling a good feeling. It’s treating others kindly for no reason. It shows us the good in people and how we should respect them.
Is there equity? Of course. We are sharing kindness in a society based on this message. No one is below one another or higher than. We are all the same people in the same world looking to survive. Why not do it together? Why not do one thing for someone to brighten their day? It’s about sharing and creating relationships. It’s purpose is equity.
Is it socially responsible? Yes. There is not one bad thing in this commercial. People will experience sadness and children will grow. It shows a father looking out for his daughter and being there for her. He does this in a world where absent fathers are a rising problem. He had a responsibility to take care of her and she had a responsibility to learn and love him for everything he’s done. It was a pure and beautiful relationship they sold us.
Ads like this one can be absolutely beautiful. This is one of the most popular commercials in the past year. I have seen it shared numerous times. They did advertising right and I’m seeing more commercials like this everyday. People are finally understanding it, and they told us that with gum.