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The Inspiration of Pop-Culture Icons

Many of the fictional ‘superheroes’ that first started appearing in comic books 70 years ago are still with us today and many have become pop-culture icons. Their iconic status presents exciting opportunities for Art Directors and Copywriters to explore for ideas to promote entertaining brand associations that are instantly recognisable to the viewer.

The pop-culture icon list has of course grown over time with the addition of characters from popular movie franchises such as Star Wars and James Bond to name but a couple.

Iconic Status

Borrowing a pop-culture icon for a commercial however, is rarely sustainable for a lengthy brand campaign, but high interest levels can be achieved for one-off commercials. The big ‘watch-out’ is the potential of the popularity and familiarity of the iconic character to overpower memorability of the associated brand. The trick is to find an unexpected angle or a fresh approach to the story genres everyone knows so well.

1. VW Passat, Little Darth Vader

Advertising Agency: Deutsch, Los Angeles

This Star Wars inspired ‘The Force’ commercial directed by Lance Acord, notched up 50 million views over eight months after its first airing on YouTube and TV and by January 2015 that figure had risen to 61 million.

According to Advertising Age it has become one of the most watched and shared commercials of all time.

2. Evian, Baby Spider-Man

Advertising Agency: BETC, Paris

Directed by Tomas Skoging, the amusing and excellently crafted commercial immediately went viral even before its official release.

3. Coca-Cola Coke Mini, Hulk vs. Ant-Man

Advertising Agency: Wieden+Kennedy, Portland U.S.A.

In this very inventive scenario, superbly directed by Anthony and Mark Russo, Marvel Entertainment’s Incredible Hulk and their diminutive, but mighty Ant-Man, are brought together in their shared endeavour of finding a little thirst quenching relief.

4. Audi A8, Spider-Man Driving Test

Advertising Agency: Muhtayzik Hoffer, San Francisco

As a preview to their new ‘Spider-Man Homecoming’ movie Marvel Entertainment teamed up with Audi for a commercial featuring actor Tom Holland who plays the role of Peter Parker the Spider-Man.

Renowned comedy Director Jody Hill crafts an engaging story that is very effective in entertainingly highlighting the Audi A8’s salient selling features.