When was the last time you listened to a radio spot that made you stop and go ‘wow’? It was certainly rare for me until I came across the brilliant radio campaign developed in 2015 by LOLA MullenLowe (Spain) for Unilever’s premium ice cream brand Magnum. The campaign was called Life & Death and consisted of a series of radio spots narrated in a heavily romanticised manner, personifying Magnum itself.
Life & Death in New York City:
Life & Death in Venice:
Life & Death in Paris:
What captivated me most was how Magnum’s positioning was brought to life in a concept that not only made the product the hero, but evoked sheer pleasure simply through audio. The idea was to place the brand in three iconic cities of the world, and portray a young woman indulging in the pleasure of a Magnum, but from the point-of-view of the ice cream itself.
In New York, you can hear Magnum in Harvey Keitel’s thick Brooklyn accent describing the buzz of the Big Apple, before turning to his eventual ‘death’ at the hands of an ‘extraordinary’ young woman. Across the Atlantic in Venice, you hear Magnum as incarnated by Chazz Palminteri’s European accents describing the ‘sensual’ experience of his death. Not too far away in Paris, another Magnum, voiced this time by Olivier Martinez in a thick French accent dwells on the ‘sophistication’ of his death. The sound as the hard chocolate cracks and the line ‘When a Magnum dies, pleasure lives’ does complete justice to the tagline: For Pleasure Seekers.
The campaign won several Lions at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity the year it was released. Another series of radio spot within the same campaign was later released and also won awards. Yet, for me personally, they failed to make the impact that the first ones did. They set their own bar too high.
Muhammad Ali Khan is Associate Director Creative & Strategy at Spectrum VMLY&R. He also teaches in the Masters of Advertising programme at SZABIST-Karachi.