Google Fi 'gets awkward' plus 5 more creative campaigns that mine embarrassing situations to great effect.

A snapshot look at a trending campaign with a curated pick of past campaigns that use a similar creative approach in some way.

Google Fi 'gets awkward' plus 5 more creative campaigns that mine embarrassing situations to great effect.

In new Google Fi ads, Orchard and director Jeff Low humorously embrace the awkwardness of characters abruptly promoting brands during both familiar and absurd scenarios. They create four comedic scenes highlighting Google Fi’s wireless benefits using dark comedy. The first ad immediately captures attention with a classic awkward scene: a teen waiting in a family's living room while his date prepares upstairs. He attempts some small talk discussing Google Fi's benefits, like no contracts or hidden fees, while clarifying he's not commitment-phobic. The family's reaction? Less than enthusiastic.

Other versions get increasingly bizarre but all leverage characters who could ‘really do’ with some decent international coverage pronto. Fun stuff.

Plus, here are 5 more campaigns that mine embarrassment and awkwardness in different ways.

The Talk | Life 360 | Wunderman Thompson | 2021

Flip the conversations that parents have with kids when they grow up. Safety platform provider Life360 harnesses awkwardness in a new campaign that amusingly puts forward the idea of "parent puberty". The campaign's main video centres on a child talking to their parent about the new feelings that they might be experiencing now the child is growing up. The ad redefines the usual parent-child talks to focus on the parent but with no less awkwardness. By addressing this difficult stage of parenting, Life360 is able to show how its safety platform can put minds at rest. The campaign also features 15-second tutorials and a humorous illustrated guide called I Feel Funny. This teaches parents how to manage symptoms like worry sweats and anxiety flashes. By focusing on the emotional changes happening to parents rather than kids, the campaign speaks to a life change that is often overlooked.

Say It Proud! | Head & Shoulders | AMBILHATI Jakarta | 2020

Turn a habitual problem with pronouncing a brand name into a chance for positive self-expression. In Indonesia, Head & Shoulders had been unsuccessfully trying to topple the brand leader for anti-dandruff shampoo, Clear, for decades. Research indicated that people weren’t asking for their brand because it was hard to pronounce and led to embarrassment, especially when most shops required customers to state the products they wanted to buy. So, as a brand focused on confidence, Head & Shoulders turned the difficulty in pronouncing the brand name into an opportunity for Indonesians to say the name however they wanted to – proudly so. The campaign succeeded and saw Head & Shoulders overtake Clear, gain 1.9 million households, and achieve an extra 10% market share.

Boys React To Tampons | Nett Tampons | Isobar | 2018

Give girls confidence to ask about menstration by showing how little boys know! In France, a lack of information around menstruation has led to a fourfold increase in Toxic Shock Syndrome. This is caused by taboo and ignorance surrounding teenage girls starting their periods. Many may have felt they didn’t know enough, and others may have felt intimidated to admit their unfamiliarity. So, to diminish the taboo around asking questions about menstruation, Nett found a group who would know even less than the girls: teenage boys. By focusing on a group who don’t suffer from any worries about menstruation, the topic could be addressed in a light-hearted way and questions could be asked without girls feeling embarrassed. By showcasing the period products to a group who don’t have the problem, questions can be asked without them being personal or embarrassing.

Laughing Horses | Volkswagen | Grabarz & Partner | 2017

Reimagine the difficulty of parking a horse trailer as a breeze with VW Trailer Assist. Ever tried to reverse park with a horse trailer? It can – as thousands of Germans know – be a very embarrassing experience. In fact, it can turn you into a bit of a laughing stock. Unless you have a Volkswagen Tiguan with Trailer Assist, in which case you’ll be fine. This is the fantastic premise of this campaign which reveals a bunch of horses in a field almost dying of laughter. The source of their amusement is a man trying to back his trailer into a parking space. He fails miserably several times much to the horses’ delight. But the next time, the driver comes armed with Trailer Assist and he steers his trailer effortlessly in the parking space. This dismays the horses and leaves them dumbfounded.

Girls Don't Poop | Poo Pourri | TBWA\ | 2013

Reveal a freakishly confident woman who is no longer embarrassed when pooping. Women are embarrassed when they need to go to the loo especially at their boyfriend’s pad or at an office party [the villain’s lair in story structure parlance]. This is not an insight based on $100K research. It’s an observation anybody could think up and validate quickly.  Once armed with such insight, create a powerful protagonist that has what your target audience lacks. Here, it is the gift of confidence in embarrassing ‘poo’ situations. In this classic campaign, the fun tone is a natural consequence of choosing to create such a bold character.