Corona removes its bottles from scenic print ads plus...4 more campaigns that use strategic omission.

Corona removes its bottles from scenic print ads plus...4 more campaigns that use strategic omission.

Omission is a popular and often highly effective advertising tactic. It can be done visually through the omission of a product or protagonist and it can be done via wordplay through the clever removal of words. Often the effect is to create an impactful metaphor, other times it is simply a great way to create a campaign that looks a little odd and stands out from the crowd.  Here are five such examples starting with this recent from Corona encouraging us to recycle.

Return Yours | Corona | David | 2023

To encourage recycling and position itself as part of the solution, Corona has launched a series of five different print ads that have deliberately removed its bottles from the shot. Each ad celebrates sun, sea, and sand – the perfect setting for enjoying a nice cold Corona.  The brand’s bottles have been removed in post-production from each of these idyllic scenes with messaging to encourage people to dispose of their empty Corona bottles correctly and not just dump them on beaches and pollute our oceans.

Most German Supermarket | Edeka | Jung von Matt | 2018

In 2017, the right-wing party AfD stood a good chance of gaining seats in the German parliament. So supermarket chain EDEKA decided to make a stand for diversity and banned more than 20,000 foreign products from its shelves. It then opened a supermarket with only German-made products – the (omitted) bare shelves saying more than words ever could.

In this emotional campaign, Cadbury Dairy Milk removed the words from its Dairy Milk bar for the first time in support of Age UK to combat loneliness among the older generation. The initiative was accompanied by a heartfelt film by VCCP that told stories of several older people who feel alone in a TV ad spot. But the campaign was about more than just raising awareness. So to follow up, the brand and agency partners arranged for beloved UK TV personality Sue Perkins to be placed in confinement in a house in London with no devices over a 30-hour period with nothing but a book. She documented her experience drawing light on her isolation, taking the audience on a very personal journey.

Missing Type | NHS | Mediacom | 2017

In order to draw attention to blood donation and recruit more donors, this campaign removed the letters of the blood groups As, Os, and Bs from names, places, and brands that people engage with in everyday life. A wonderful example of deliberate omission using wordplay.

Anti-Slip Roller Skates | Fisher Price | Pre-2000

This classic print campaign is a social media favourite with various influencers and experts arguing how past advertising in the 80s treated its audience with intelligence. Steering clear of the debate, it's simpler to say this is a lovely clever campaign featuring one child standing up and a whole load of empty space, the tagline reads: "Which of these three kids is wearing anti-slip Fisher Price roller skates?". Get it...? Of course, you do. Tactical omission at its finest.