Thinkbox: Harvey and The Power of TV

We’ve seen Harvey being rescued from a dogs’ home, we’ve witnessed him forge a close friendship with Rabbit, and now he’s fallen in love – all thanks to the power of television. Harvey’s third and final Thinkbox ad sees him creating another one of his classic heart-rending TV montages. This time, the aim is to persuade his owner to let Harmony, the magnificent poodle, shack up with him. And how could anyone with a heart resist the love story Harvey paints – from the traumas of speed dating, to the couple’s first date, developing shared interests (yoga and museums, obvs) through to the blossoming of ever-lasting love.

The beauty of Harvey is that he demonstrates so clearly how effective emotional campaigns can be – and how TV has a unique ability to create deep, emotional connections. Within the space of less than a minute, we have been immersed in the entire love story of Harvey and Harmony. Our imagination fills in the gaps between the montage of images and we invest our own experiences of love into the story. This isn’t just about Harvey and a poodle – it’s about all of us. Our emotional response to the soundtrack – in this case, Glenn Mederios’ Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You – combines with our own feelings of longing, nostalgia, and the romantic ideal.

The IPA showed in ‘Marketing in the Era of Accountability’ that emotional ads were 94% more effective than rational or informative ads. Creative campaigns are 10 times more efficient at delivering business success, and creatively awarded campaigns are much more likely to be emotional than rational. Harvey’s success also shows how all TV ads are response ads – effectively making people do things. Whether that’s voting for our favourite reality contestant, ordering something online, or allowing an exotic poodle to move in.

MediaCom research commissioned by Thinkbox found that all TV ads will create an online response – even if response is not the primary objective. Then there’s the way in which TV advertising can build fame – Harvey himself has become a superstar with 26,000 Facebook friends, and he was named as celebrity dog of the year by Dogs Trust. Fame campaigns’ get brands talked about and drive high levels of buzz. These campaigns are significantly more likely to lead to very large profit effects. The first and second Harvey ads both won bronze awards at the British Arrows in 2011 and 2012. The latest Thinkbox ad was created by Matt Davis and Richard Megson, at The Red Brick Road, and directed by Us through Academy.

The ad itself will be airing on TV this Boxing Day.