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Commercials as mini-dramas gain favor

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MCDONALD’S commercial shows that brothers’ bond transcends all limitations.

The current popularity of teleseryes has launched a mini-trend for TV and radio commercials that quickly dramatize a humorous, touching or telling moment that is obliquely made to relate to the product or service being advertised.

As in full-length teleseryes, topics of choice include family relationships, love matters, parents and their kids, service to society, and teen concerns.

These mini-dramas are generally more difficult and expensive to produce than the usual spot, but they’re clearly worth the added time, effort and cost involved, because their storytelling factor gives them a currently popular “hook” with which to gain viewers’ attention and empathy—and on which to “hang” their product tie-up and sales pitch!

One such “dramatized” commercial shows a “negligent” mom trying to make up for her real or imagined lapse by bringing home a tasty “bribe.” The yummy ploy works beautifully in placating the aggrieved child—and the follow-up punch line is the arrival of the kid’s grandparents, with even more of the same gustatory goodies. In a young viewer’s empathetic fantasy, when it rains, it pours!

Unusual cast

An even more notable twist is provided by another food commercial that promotes a budget meal at a fast-food outlet by presenting an unusual cast of characters: A love-smitten young man asking for advice from his older brother, who happens to be a “special” or “differently abled” person.

He may have a more difficult time articulating his advice, but it comes through loud and clear, nevertheless: Don’t try too hard to smile, please and impress, just be who you really are. The fact that the advisor in the brief drama between siblings is a “special” person only makes the spot more affecting, because it’s subliminally saying that the caring bond between brothers can transcend all limitations.

It’s also bracing to see that the younger sibling doesn’t patronize his kuya at all, but implicitly trusts his counsel, and acts on it.

Other “dramatized” commercials don’t come off as well, because the “performances” in them are awkward, push too much for effect, or excessively “hard-sell” the product being shilled. But, the actors in this particular spot are very judiciously cast. As a result, viewers empathize fully with the characters they play in the mini-drama, even if they may not have “special” persons in their own lives.

Other exceptional dramatized commercials we’ve viewed include one that has a girl’s suitor interacting with her dad, and another spot that urges parents to listen more to their kids, instead of just making small talk at mealtime.

Similarly emotionally persuasive is a liquor commercial about a barkada-mate coming home after living many years abroad, and looking much more prosperous and successful than the friends he left behind. But, when it came to their favorite libation, it was still the same—so, where it “counted,” their bond remained strong, and things hadn’t changed that much, after all!

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