Break Through Buzz: The Ad That Wasn’t There

Break Through Buzz is the creative stuff that impressed Ketchum’s creative community this week. Check out what captured our imaginations and inspires us to keep pushing the boundaries of possibility.


The Ad That Wasn’t There
Selected by Jessica Frost
What it is:
To promote the movie The Book Thief, 20th Century Fox placed a two-page ad in the New York Times that is almost completely blank, except for the URL on the bottom of the second page.

What makes it break through:
This approach shows how one can take an expected idea – such as an ad with visuals to promote a product – and flip it on its head with arresting impact. I would love to see how much the website traffic spiked after this creative ad debuted, I’m sure many people visited the URL just to figure out what this was all about!

toysToys Without Borders
Selected by Michael Maldonado

What it is: Top-Toy, the Scandinavian licensee of Toys ‘R’ Us, released its new catalog with portrayals of gender-neutral playtime. From girls with guns to boys with blow dryers, the Top-Toy catalog supports Sweden’s national focus on gender equality and attempts to break down gender stereotypes.

What makes it break through: While the gender-neutral images in the Top-Toy catalog are in response to the national effort in Sweden, the catalog is making waves around the globe and generating international buzz. Top-Toy is sending the message that the days of ‘blue for boys’ and ‘pink for girls’ are numbered and that brands, especially those targeting children, should take note sooner rather than later.

hbsWhat’s Your Emotional Agility?
Selected by Karen Strauss

What it is:
This article in the Harvard Business Review puts forth the concept of emotional agility – the ability to make mindful, productive use of our workplace emotions rather than fighting or feeling defeated by them – and offers four practices to help achieve it.

What makes it break through:
Creativity can be an emotional process, and these emotions can either help or hinder us. As we navigate these rapids, the concepts and tips in this article can help us understand, accept and thrive as we push to create and argue for new ideas.

stickerDon’t Hit That Sticker!
Selected by Angelica Carter

What it is
: As a part of a vehicle suspension promotion campaign, realistic pothole stickers were placed on heavily trafficked roads and highways in Canada.

What makes it break through:
Playing on drivers’ fear of potholes, this campaign used people’s smarts against them. Speeding motorists would see these massive ‘potholes’ and slow down to avoid them, bringing attention to the accompanying road signs and their own vehicle’s suspension system. Mission accomplished.

Selected by Sarah Unger

What it is: 
A former colleague shared a passion he helped start in his new role: Similar to #planking, the #mamming campaign urges women to embrace the awkwardness of mammograms and to “mam” where it counts ­- the doctor’s office. Actresses Jillian Bell, Erin Daniels and Edi Patterson have joined the #mamming cause in hopes that people will start talking about early breast cancer detection with friends and family, especially at a younger age.

What makes it break through:
Humor is one of the easiest ways to break the emotional barrier with consumers. Using it for such a sensitive and serious topic, the #mamming project is a flip on the usual approach and stands out as a result.

mickey21st Century Mickey
Selected by Jeff Lewonczyk

What it is:
Disney has been quietly but delightfully putting flagship character Mickey Mouse at the center of a risky new series of short cartoons for the Web. The Halloween-ready example here, “Ghoul Friend,” features sidekick Goofy in the role of a decomposing zombie, but there are many other examples at the DisneyShorts YouTube page.

What makes it break through:
This is an impeccable way to revitalize an iconic brand. These cartoons are a perfect blend of retro-style design, modern techniques and a sensibility that boldly expands into new territory without losing sight of the innocence and fun that sit at Disney’s core. Plus they’re simply hugely entertaining examples of shareable content, created by master storytellers.