Saab Barracuda, a contractor that develops camouflage for military applications, needed a print ad for a military publication that targeted its primary audience. The sensitivity of the product and seriousness of the application required conservative, yet creative options.
Advertising in past issues of the publication was primarily product oriented. Visuals were often a generic photo of the product. Information included basic facts on the product or service along with a statement about the reliability of the advertiser. The tone of the ads tended to be very matter-of-fact and there was almost no variation in this formula from advertiser to advertiser.
Applying the contrarian thought process, we started by looking at the opposite of what other advertisers were doing. The opposite would stay away from heavy product visuals, vague advertiser statements, and the “macho” tone.
The primary role of camouflage is to hide and protect our military so the soldiers come home safely. They come home to the comfort of family, so we decided to contrast a family playing hide-and-seek with pictures of the product in use. The warm and fuzzy approach is contrary to nearly all the other advertising in the magazine. The product visuals are actual field shots of the camouflage in use. The effectiveness of the product is clearly illustrated along with the end goal of returning home safely to family.
Did it work?
Who knows? The ad was designed to influence a captive market and sales trends aren’t disclosed because of the sensitive nature of the product. Still, we thought it was pretty cool ad.