This week my attention will focus on the advert for Panda Cheese; a product which, unless your are either Egyptian or an avid You-tuber, you probably will not have heard of.
This is a set of ads, which have a common theme throughout, that when a person chooses to reject Panda cheese the pander mascot appears gazing longingly into the character’s eyes before erupting into frenzy and violently attacking objects around the room.
It’s interesting, because it creates a brand identity that is both aggressive and unexpected – two factors that I seldom associate with household cheeses. With that in mind, I don’t think that buying it would really be a form of expression. What it is however is different and quirky, so it will more likely make its way into the recognition set of customers in the supermarket.
This dark subtle humour (Akerman, 2010) did send the ad viral and so it has a lot of replay value, although a lot of this has taken place in the western hemisphere, so would be of questionable benefit in influence the Panda’s target audience.
However the Panda ad does appeal to its target audience regarding the emotional intimacy you build with the Panda. Consider the ‘soft spot’ you feel towards it when it stares longingly before and after its violent outburst. Choi, Miracle and Biocca (2001) argue that cues such as eye contact, facial pleasantness and body orientation create a sense of presence, making (if not the ad) your relationship to the Panda rather surreal. This in turn would create an almost subliminal nudge to cause customers to have some favour for the product.
So there we have it. Panda cheese! Viral in the west, award winning in the east (Akerman, 2010) and full of surreal emotion to encourage you to buy.