It doesn’t matter if I’m working, studying, or trying to relax…I somehow always end up using the internet. This, I believe, is the case with everyone who’s been spending an unhealthy amount of time indoors lately. Well, since we’re on the internet all the time, it’s barely surprising that we watch dozens upon dozens of ads every day – both static and video ads.
I for one am somewhat tired of watching all the influencer ads on Instagram that follow the same format which involves an influencer talking about their ‘authentic’ and ‘genuine’ experience using XYZ products. I can readily imagine many people that use Instagram and other social media platforms share my lack of enthusiasm for bland, uninteresting ads that lack any kind of storyline or good visuals.
This got me thinking about the kind of ads I’ve enjoyed watching in the past and I’ve known to be popular. It also made me think about the kind of ads I enjoy watching now. Over the years, there have been several ads that I’ve come across that have had a lasting impression on me for all the wrong reasons (hint: annoying jingles). However, now and again I get to view ads that are both interesting and effective. One such ad that I viewed online recently is this one:
It’s an ad for Grammarly that I saw when viewing another YouTube video. Now, since I write regularly I use Grammarly fairly often, so I’m not surprised that I got to view this ad. If I think about it, what surprised me here is that I was interested in watching the ad rather than making my usual exit with the beautiful ‘Skip’ button that YouTube mercifully allows for.
I watched the ad from start to finish twice (yes, willingly!) and couldn’t figure out why I found it so interesting. Then, it hit me: there was nothing particularly interesting about the ad, it was plain and simple. Why wouldn’t I skip it in that case? Perhaps the fact that this ad wasn’t trying so hard to impress me and simply stated what the product/service its advertising is meant to do is what’s interesting.
The ad opens with a girl typing out a document in what looks like an empty classroom or lecture hall. The first shot in the ad is not of the Grammarly tool or app, but a close-up of her face as she’s typing. So right from the get-go, this ad introduces us to someone who’s using the product it’s advertising. I thought this was a refreshing change from the myriad ads I view every day that entails an actor facing some XYZ problem and another actor introducing them to a product that magically solves everything!
The simple shot of the girl typing away on her laptop using Grammarly to edit her work is a pretty good introduction to how the tool works. As the ad progresses, it shows us how she even uses Grammarly while sending text messages, which is meant to showcase how versatile this app is. Those who have used the Grammarly app will know that it allows you to install a keyboard that works like autocorrect but is more sophisticated.
Throughout the ad, we see exactly how this keyboard functions and how the actor uses it to perfect her sentences both while working and while sending casual texts. Not only do we see Grammarly making suggestions to her on how she can improve her sentences, but we also see how it offers her explanations on why the sentences need changes in the first place. If any viewer was initially confused with how this tool works, this visual elaboration should have helped allay their doubts right away.
The narration used in the ad is quite to the point as well, highlighting only the main features of the app. What I found to be the best feature of the narration is that it emphasizes what the product offers you without sounding too sales‑y. None of the, ‘are you tired of people making fun of your grammar?’ and other tropes I’ve seen used in other ads for grammar tools.
Besides, there’s nothing particularly flashy about the ad. The simple set designs and muted colors used throughout don’t detract from the main point of the ad, which is to let us know how Grammarly works. Even though I use Grammarly already, I think I would’ve been intrigued with the ad and explored the app based on how impressive I found the ad. After all, the best companies always make the most effort with their ads and their products rarely disappoint.
The only possible flaw I could identify in this ad is that it packs in a little too much information in just one minute. This isn’t to say that this ad should be longer (who wants to watch longer ads?!), but that it could have worked just as well with a little less elaboration on how advanced the tool is. At one point in the ad, we see a small paragraph that’s been typed out by the actor at the top of the screen. The narration then launches into how advanced the technology used by Grammarly is. All that while I was thinking, ‘just let me read the sentences and see the tool’s suggestions!’
It’s a little distracting and convoluted, but that’s only one small part of the ad. Also, the ad mentions that the app is free right at the end of the ad, right with a call to action. Considering how we see more than 50 seconds of the ad harping on how advanced and useful Grammarly is, it would be safe to conclude that most viewers assume this is a paid app. Therefore, it may have been more useful to have mentioned that it’s free either at the start of the ad or somewhere in the middle, to not dissuade users who aren’t willing to pay for it from downloading it.
As for the ad placement, I saw it on YouTube which is the perfect platform for video ads anyway. Here, viewers won’t find it distracting to watch a one-minute long video ad like they would’ve done if it was featured on say, a news website with all written articles. Also, considering my web activity and history, I’d say this ad was very well placed.
Overall, this video ad is simple but not simplistic, which makes it effective and is sure to leave the right kind of impression on viewers.