“I love you baby girl,” is a simple yet powerful statement any dad could say to his daughter. However, saying the same thing repetitively and not actually demonstrating it is a totally different story, the words will eventually seem meaningless. This very emotionally heart wrenching advertisement was intentionally made to target and tug at any and everyone’s heartstrings, whether young or old, military family or not. Targeting such a large audience made it even more effective, and the fact that this ad was based on a true story, of a military dad and his daughters living in California. From a marketing perspective the use of a true story is usually more appreciated than something made up. The ad did a fantastic job at appealing to its viewers about not just to buying their batteries, but also as a way for us to see what military families, especially kids endure while their parent/s is deployed. Americans on a whole takes the military and their services very seriously. They fight battles and die every day for us, for our families for U.S citizens. Using such a powerful story and something as important as the military to the American people has put the icing on the ad.
In a abc7 Chicago news story, Duracell says the video is based off of Robert Nilson and his family’s story. Nilson, a Navy air traffic controller, and his wife Denise gave their two daughters a teddy bear on the day of his deployment, that had a pre-recorded message to comfort them while he was away. The video is made to show support to US military members on Independence Day, and to shed light on the issues military children may face when their parents are deployed. This extremely effective advertisement was created on July 1, 2015, just in time for the Fourth of July. This day represents the U.S Independence Day which would not have been possible without the sacrifices made by our patriots and military soldiers. Duracell choosing this advertising strategy was not just an opportunity to sell their product, but a chance to pay respect and honor to the soldiers who helps to keep us safe, and also their children who undergo stress and loneliness during their deployment. This was a great use of logos, as It indicates that there is logical reasoning behind their advertisement and it also serves a good cause.
According to Global, Multi-platform media and entertainment company Mashable, company representatives were in California for a market research study when they encountered this family’s story (re-enacted by actors for the ad).”We were basically in the house of this family and we asked the daughter to show off her favorite toy,” the company’s brand manager, Ramon Velutini, tells Mashable. “We were expecting regular toys — remote control cars and all this — and they came running with this battery-powered bear.”Velutini said the story highlights the brand’s dedication to reliable products, especially when people depend on them for a meaningful purpose. The brand is also donating $100,000 to the USO’s Comfort Crew for Kids, which provides support for the children in military families, so again, just go buy the batteries already.
The advertisement lasts approximately one minute and thirty eight seconds, and started out with a soldier wearing his combat boots and his army uniform while sitting on his bunk. There were other soldiers in the background alongside background noises of other soldiers talking, and chopper whirring, which explained that he was deployed and on base. It showed him putting two Duracell batteries with the logo, ‘Duracell Quantum’ clearly visible as it faces outwards to the viewers as he put them inside a teddy bear that was wearing an army shirt with a red sticker. The writing on the red sticker was not visible in this scene but it did show him pressing down on it with his thumb. He then held up the bear towards his mouth where he said “I love you…” the rest of his statement was drowned out by the loud background noises. The advertisers subtly highlighted the batteries so it’s viewers could have an idea of what the advertisement was about. However, they were smart enough to not over advertise or focus on the batteries too much, as this would take away from the main purpose, which is to get the viewer’s attention.
The next scene which had the low background music “Waiting” by Alice Boman, started out with her humming the lyrics, it showed a little girl, (Paige Fitzgerald) and her mom opening a box and the mom saying, “It’s from daddy!” The little girl reached inside and pulled out the same teddy bear we had seen earlier in the first scene. It was wearing the same army shirt with the big red sticker where the words were now visible and read, “squeeze me” Based on the little girl’s facial expression it is evident that she was extremely happy. She squeezed the bear and it was the voice of the soldier saying, “I love you baby girl.” Up to this point the story unravels itself and it is clear to the viewers that the soldier was the little girl’s dad and at the end of his voice message that subsequently got drowned out by background noise he said, ‘baby girl’. Each scene would leave out a small detail that would only make sense if viewers continued to watch. Just like a great movie they save all the good parts for the ending and viewers will never know how it ends unless we watch the entire show. This was a very effective way of keeping the viewers engaged the entire time. It made them want to see more, where the story was going and how it would end.
The next scene showed this extremely happy little girl jumping with joy as she threw her teddy bear and caught it. She was shown sleeping with and even taking her new teddy bear with her on the school bus. The advertisers played the same emotionally heart wrenching song that was played earlier during the box opening, except this time with words saying, “I want you more than I need you…” the volume of the background music decreased as the loud recording in the teddy bear, “I love you baby girl,” was played. After the recording was done the background music picked up again from where the volume was lowered and the rest of the words, “I need you so bad…are u coming back?” was played repetitively and in a tone that would make anyone cry and wreck us emotionally. Playing these specific lyrics in this point of the advertisement helped the viewers to understand what the little girl was thinking, she started to wonder if her dad was really coming back because she needed him just like all kids do need their parents around, in order to cope. This teddy bear was a successful coping mechanism, that, with the use of the Duracell batteries would create hope, remind her that her dad loves her and that he would return.
Towards the peak of the background song it kept repeating, “Are you coming back, are you coming back.” It showed the little girl coloring with the teddy bear visible in the background. The cameras were directly pointed at her to capture the reaction on her face when she heard the voice of who appeared to be her dad and mom laughing in the other room. She suddenly jumped up taking her bear with her and ran into the next room with the expectation to see her dad. Upon seeing that he was not actually there in person but just on video her smile disappeared, and a look of disappointment became visible. He asked her, “How’s your bear?” and she answered in a short, disappointed tone, “Good.” He went on to say, “I love you baby girl” which at this point became meaningless since she had heard it so many times but there’s nothing behind it, so she just responded with, “Ok, bye” and left the room disappointed and heart broken. He tried to ask where she was going with a disappointing look on his face as if he was expecting to hear more. After seeing that she didn’t even look back he waved one hand to say “Bye” and this was where the viewers probably made the empathetic sad face and said, “aww” with a trickle of tear drop. During this scene is where the pathos truly started to present itself. The viewers are now left to see the emotional struggle the little girl was going through and how broken the dad was to know that he couldn’t be there in that exact moment to comfort her. Not only was the little girl disappointed and lonely but she was hurting deep inside. This would get a reaction from the audience because no one likes to see kids or animals hurting.
At this point the mom intervened, told him she was sorry and tried to convince him that she would come back, which obviously didn’t happen. Instead it showed her daughter throwing the bear in a hamper and went to bed. Beneath the background music the dad’s voice from the video call could be heard saying, “Sure…no it’s fine.” At this point the camera focused completely on the bear in the hamper. Seeing the bear abandoned in the hamper was a way of explaining how the father felt in that exact moment. It went on to show a scene of the daughter brushing her teeth and peeking over at the teddy bear through the mirror, which just sat there as if it was looking back at her. It almost felt like she didn’t want it close to her anymore but she didn’t want it to feel too far away either. The background music was still playing up till this point with words saying, “I’m waiting for you,” It showed her mom in bed unable to sleep and hearing her daughter in the next room still listening to the repetitive message, “I love you baby girl” and her, responding with “I miss you too.” Adding all these details was a way for the viewers to have a clear idea of the effects of deployment on children. This will result in them purchasing not just any batteries but specifically Duracell batteries to support their logical cause and helping these military families.
Finally, the day came when “I love you baby girl!” had a whole new meaning. She sat at the table playing checkers with her teddy bear which was wearing a yellow birthday hat. She heard those five words again and looked up at the teddy bear with a look of surprise knowing it didn’t sound like a recording anymore. She turned around with excitement and joy to see her father standing there in the door way! She yelled, “Daddy, daddy!” as she ran towards him, he picked her up and she hugged him as tightly as she could. If the viewers weren’t bawling out their eyeballs by now, then, they had to the second the drop of tear fell from the little girl’s eye. There was a huge built up of emotions in this specific part of the advertisement, anyone that never bought a battery in their lives probably went and stocked up on some Duracell. The advertisers then had the message “The ones you trust are always there!” written across the screen with the voice of a narrator reading it out loud. This was followed by an effectively loud attention getter sound that had a picture of a huge Duracell battery in the end along with their tagline “Trusted Everywhere.” The tagline and their slogan were also forms of ethos. For them to say it’s trusted everywhere shows credibility. Duracell in itself is also a form of ethos given that they are a very reputable brand. They also appeal to the viewers at the very end of the advertisement to join them and donate to the USO, so they could help thousands of kids cope during their parent’s deployment. So again they didn’t shove their batteries in the viewers faces, they simply shed light on an ongoing problem, and subtly ask us to help them, by the purchasing of their batteries so they, could help these families. Overall their main focus was on the pathos, getting the viewers to engage emotionally, to focus and see exactly what the problem is and introducing the battery in the end, so they remember that buying them will be a part of the solution.
This advertisement was effective in so many ways every viewer was bound to watch it till the end. The fact that they didn’t have a Duracell battery in every scene or someone saying, “buy your Duracell now” like other advertisers, their goal was accomplished successfully. This is almost like using reverse psychology, the advertisers preyed on the emotion of the audience and then briefly showed their battery in the beginning and the end of the ad. The subtle attention getter was that they briefly showed us what the ad was about when they showed the batteries. They then gave us the story to captivate our attention, and completely wreck our hearts, before they showed the battery again at the very end with a bang. It was as if they’re saying cool you liked the story? Touching huh? Now go get the batteries and put a smile on a military family’s face. The huge targeted audience parents and children, especially after seeing the story line, whether they can relate or not, is sure to have a positive reaction after. The teddy bear with the batteries was a symbol of the dad. During the time he was away the Duracell batteries helped to keep the teddy bear working and his daughter hopeful. The same way that the Duracell battery didn’t die and kept the bear working, is the same way the dad didn’t fail her either, when he showed up surprisingly. The slogan ‘The ones you trust are always there” represents the family and the Duracell battery all together. The Ad went all out with the pathos (sad story), they left no room for reservation as they went straight for the heart strings and succeeded. Logos (military story, Duracell, and the logical connection to donate to families) and ethos (the brand, and slogan). There is no doubt that the end goal of the ad is strictly to appeal to its viewer’s emotions and reminds us as to why it would be better to purchase their batteries. The fact that they’re doing it for a good cause and not just for marketing purposes sets them apart from other companies. Every person that view this ad will forever remember this story and how the little girl was affected, which will result in them buying Duracell batteries over all the others. Buying their brand of batteries will help thousands of kids cope during their parent’s deployment and ensuring that “The ones you trust are always there.”
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo1iUkhG0fE