Pepsi and Camry: Two Advertisements Doing It Right

It’s easy to pick out advertisements that could do better, but this week I’d like to focus on two that resonated with me. Not only are they effective in their own right, but both build upon criticisms I’ve made in previous articles. Without further ado, here’s how Pepsi and Camry are doing it right.

Diet Pepsi’s “Skinny Can” Print Campaign with Sofia Vergara

Pepsi’s print advertisement with Sofia Vergara is a great example of using a celebrity endorser to her full potential.  Effective endorsements should feel like a friend is recommending a product because they love it.  Having a star sitting pretty with a product isn’t enough–endorsements need to emphasize why the viewer likes them in the first place.

While no one can argue that Vergara is gorgeous, Pepsi emphasizes her fun personality with multiple snapshots. Vergara’s brand rests on her loud, flirty, Latina nature. Pepsi recognizes these strengths and plays them up with kissy faces, sidelong eyes and a shot of her laughing.

Not only does the soda advertise the actress well, but they successfully marry her brand with their own. Vergara’s red lipstick and blue dress match the Pepsi logo. Even more importantly, she is interacting with the product. This action speaks much louder than simply placing Vergara next to a Pepsi can or quoting what she says about the soda.

Capitalizing on celebrity personality is not always easy  in print. Earlier this year, I wrote an article criticizing COVERGIRL’s print advertisement featuring Sofia Vergara. Her larger-than-life personality was highlighted in their commercial spots, but failed to translate in static photos. Check it out below.

Yes, the photos are beautiful. But, face it, that could be anyone. What does this picture really say about COVERGIRL? How is Vergara convincing the consumer to take action by buying their new lipstick product? Long story short: it’s not pull off a successful endorsement print ad, which makes Pepsi’s ad all the more impressive.

Toyota Camry “Connections” Commercial

For Toyota advertisers, a Camry is a car that they want you to buy over other brands. But for the consumers, the Camry is a car they use everyday. It’s what they drive to pick up takeout, go to the dry cleaners, help a friend move and sing embarrassing 90s music in (ok, maybe that last one’s just me). Camry’s “Connections” commercial shows a real empathy to the consumer side of the deal.

By citing customer stories, Toyota highlights the importance of the individual Camry owners as well as their connection to a greater community of stories.  This strategy works as a perfect call to action for The Camry Effect campaign to encourage individuals to share their testimonials with other Camry owners. Toyota demonstrated that they cared about these stories by featuring them so prominently. Maybe it’s a little on the sappy side, but it definitely worked for me.

I recently criticized Camry’s “It’s Reinvented!” commercial during the 2012 Superbowl for its use of random humor. While non sequiturs can be entertaining, they must ultimately reinforce the message behind the brand in order to be memorable. Unlike Toyota’s “It’s Reinvented!” commercial, the stories in “Connections” supported the overall narrative: every Camry driver has a story. This commercial was much more successful in weaving together a coherent message that stuck.

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