Europe Taught Me About Advertising

by Charlotte Muscroft

26 February, 2014

Driven by a desire to see new parts of the world and learn about my national identity, I moved back to my England last year from August to December to study at Harlaxton College, a sister school of my home university.

Filled with the promise of seeing my family and cheap travel, I went with a list of places I wanted to see and activities to complete. I took advantage of Ryan Air and Easy Jet’s low cost tickets and traveled to 11 countries within Europe, and saw a great amount of England with my student rail card.

In many places I traveled, the most prominent touristy spots turned out to be the most forgettable. In several instances I found them to be so commercialized that they lost their character and charm.

The same can be said for advertising.  For a message to stand out, it has to be unique. A campaign cannot be similar to what consumers have seen already. It must be clever and show character. Conventional does not leave a lasting impression.

In the episode “Local Ad” in the American version of The Office, the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin made a different and unique ad rather than using the commercial that the marketing consultant agency recommended. This is one of my favorite episodes.

Something that stood out to me in Europe was the riskiness of advertisements. In comparison to American ads, they incorporate more humor and breach topics that many ads in the states would not dare.

This Reborn to be Alive organ donation campaign ran in Belgium.

Reborn to be Alive organ donation campaign ran in Belgium

The “Life is Too Short for the Wrong Job” campaign by German online recruitment website cleverly highlighted unappealing jobs in everyday actions.

Life is Too Short for the Wrong Job
Life is Too Short for the Wrong Job

This ad for nicotine gum ran during the time for New Year Resolutions.

Nicotine Gum

This nicely timed ad for the John Cooper Works Roadster ran in print publications in the UK.

John Cooper Works Roadster

These ads are clever and they stay in the consumer’s memory. My next trip is to Peru, and I wonder what is in store for me there.