Hey you! Look at this sleek piece of branding. This is an ad for a millennial-focused, direct-to-consumer product. Now, you’re going to look at it, and at no point will you fully understand what is going on.
What are we selling? Anything, really. It could be a set of bedsheets or it could be a pair of eyeglasses. Turns out, you’re wrong on both accounts; it’s luggage. But then again, we’re not so much selling a product as we are selling a lifestyle. And that lifestyle is, specifically, you buying our luggage. Or maybe buying our erectile dysfunction pills. Honestly, it does not matter, because every single one of these ads looks exactly the same.
But the design sure is stunning, isn’t it? Tastefully muted yet aggressively Scandinavian hues. A minimalist aesthetic and clean lines. Those lines are so clean you could eat off them — which is good because this is an ad for a meal kit delivery service. No wait, sorry, it’s for pillows made of foam.
Our ad features three people. One is white. One is black. One of us is an ethnicity you’ve never seen before, but it’s beautiful and needs to be represented more in mainstream popular culture. They’re all gorgeous and wearing fashionable sweaters. Are they having fun? You bet they are, because they’re all using this product, which is makeup but could just as easily be shoelaces or dental floss.
Check this out — it’s a hand holding our product. And beneath that hand are some words in a sans-serif typeface. It’s sexy, yet approachable. Readable, and very proud of that fact. It explains our half-baked, half-sentence philosophy behind what we do, which in this case, is selling whimsical socks and/or nut milk-based protein shakes.
Time for a catchphrase that’s weirdly unspecific. Ready? “Have more life!” That’s for our perfume company, but if it sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also been used to sell leggings and orthodontic products. Do you like it? We paid a branding consultancy $860,000 for it. That’s why, when we designed this ad, we could only afford one solid color for the background.
A lot of ads throw the kitchen sink at you to try to draw you in. Not us. All we need is a simple graphic and a coupon code for 15% off — which, when applied, won’t really do anything to take away from the fact that our toothbrushes, or razors, or business casual attire are still significantly more expensive than toothbrushes, or razors, or business casual attire ought to be.
Oh, and we should get this out of the way right now — this is also a monthly subscription. Our ads do a great job showcasing the product, but not a great job telling you that you’re going to get that product once a month and that there’s no way to stop it. Hope you like shoes made of wool, but also underwear made of… I don’t know, let’s go with synthetic eucalyptus. You glanced at this ad, and now we’re shipping them to you every four weeks until you die.
Want to learn more? Just check out our website. Or listen to our podcast. Or visit our pop-up shop in that part of town that you’re not good-looking enough to go to. Of course, if that’s too much work, you could just lose yourself in the high-flash photography we used to make our product really pop. And what is that product? For the purposes of this conversation, let’s say it’s for an online pharmacy. But honestly, if we told you it was for a sofa, would that change literally anything?
Thanks for looking. And more importantly, thanks for buying. Which you will. You always will. For you are a millennial, and you are powerless against this ad for direct-to-consumer products.