Dominoes or Celebrities? - Some of the Most Expensive TV Adverts Ever
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Aug 17, 2012

Dominoes or Celebrities? - Some of the Most Expensive TV Adverts Ever

Image By: Stephen Edgar
Advertising, as we all know, is an expensive game. But some of the monetary figures involved in TV adverts are truly mind-bending.
In order to catch our ever-shortening attention spans and stimulate our ever-cynical brains into reaching into our pockets, advertisers and big brands have to find new and innovative ways of telling us about their products all the time.
Some big fish have done what big fish usually seem to do in these kinds of situations by deciding simply to outspend everyone else.
But just what kind of advert are you going to get if you throw millions of pounds at someone with a camera and a whiteboard? It seems that there are only two options available to you:  The celebrity route or the domino effect.

The Celebrity Option
Going down the celebrity route can be a good way of making your brand cool with younger people and teenagers; this is because celebrities are very often status symbols that these age groups identify with.
You have two main options at this point:
1) Gamble purely on quantity:  Campaigns such as the Adidas “All in” series, featuring the venerable David Beckham ‘fartying’ (fake partying) with the likes of Katy Perry and Russell Simons, is a great example of this first technique.
The high water-mark of this celebrity form of TV advertising -following the ideology of ‘stuff as much in there as we can afford’ kind of mentality - is undoubtedly the Aviva Insurance ad of 2009. The advert featured, amongst others, Bruce Willis and Elle Macpherson and cost an eye-watering $13.4 million dollars!
Your second celebrity-related option is to go for quality. This is what Chanel thought they were doing when they paid $42 million for just one advert. As it starred Nicole Kidman and was directed by Baz Luhrmann, apparently it was worth it!

The Domino Option
As bizarre as it may seem, your second option in the insanely expensive TV advertisement game is to make a short film with an elaborate domino-like effect at its centre.
The following video is an example of what can happen when all consideration of TV advertising costs goes out of the window:

The video shows the various components of a car interacting with each other in an intricate domino-like sequence... believe it or not, the video cost $6.2 million dollars to produce, though this may have something to do with the fact that it took 606 takes to get the whole thing right!
Similarly, in 2007, a Guinness advert featured 6000 falling dominoes leading to up to a collection of books and fridges – this advert formed the centrepiece of a 10 million dollar campaign. The marketing team of Guinness proclaimed it to be a celebration of communities that tie us all together. Somehow, I think it was about trying to make more people drink Guinness.
So, the question is, next time you’ve got around 10 million lying around to promote your product, which route are you going to take?
Would you try to impress everyone with your famous mates or spend the next three months trying to outdo Guinness and Honda?
Or is there a much better technique that these big guns have left off?
If you’ve got the secret, please share!

Guest Author Bio: Gavin Harveyis a professional personal trainer who has travelled to some of the world’s most exotic destinations. An unrepentant TV and film addict, in his spare time you are likely to find him curled up on his sofa with his partner. Gavin currently shares his views regarding various forms of media via blogs he writes for Space City.