Experience a fairy-tale and visit Heidi’s Granddad – excellent live interactive advert with yodeling, video and free tickets

I know that this is not a blog about advertising but I read about this ad today, I then watched it twice and it still makes me smile: it is wonderful – it induces happiness and links that association to Graubünden – a beautiful mountain region in Switzerland. So clever!

How did they do it? The Graubünden tourist board put up a large screen in Zürich main train-station – Zürich is a banking hub full of busy, oftentimes successful, sometimes well-dressed people, on the way to somewhere, with no time to stop. Suddenly the screen goes live, forester Ernst, who looks a lot like we imagine Heidi’s granddad, is on screen. He is sitting at a small table in a mountain pasture in front of a chalet. The sun is shining, the sky is a pale, pale blue and dotted with clouds. After initial consternation passers-by realize that the feed is live.  Ernst invites them to come visit him for a picnic on the alp – and tickets are issued free to anyone who wants to come. It’s an excellent ad, and a great way to demonstrate what out of the box thinking can result in. I love it. It makes me happy and I didn’t even experience it first hand.

It’s wonderful to watch people’s surprise, their joy at the suddenness of being given a gift they were not expecting on a normal day. The video of the interaction shows how happy something small and surprising can make today’s consumer, a great lesson.   I was so impressed by the creative approach to increasing tourism in beautiful Graubünden that I just had to share. I hope it makes you smile too.

The above campaign is a lamentable exception in Swiss advertising –  often Swiss advertising is disappointingly bland and full of blatant stereotyping; mom at home with a) kids playing outside (think dirty clothes needing washing b) kids playing outside – coming to mom for a snack c)  the one I like least because the actress is young and the therefore the message – a woman’s place is in the home, is more damaging:  a young girl, hugging a washing machine, and proclaiming how well it washes delicate clothes (I have never seen a male featured in a Swiss washing machine advert).  There are some more notable exceptions, however: the wonderful and daring Stop Aids campaign – where fruit and vegetables take center stage (really worth having a look at). Or stellar advertising by supermarket Migros – which has some creative adverts,  such as the one below – titled – a cow, a chicken and a chocolate muffin – to stay with the mountain theme  – and the tag line – Migros – Delivering fresh produce daily:

My favourite advert from the US is the following by the Salvation Army – daring, original and creative – by an advertising agency, whose owner, believes in being at the office on time, regular working hours and doesn’t tolerate “artsy my creativity is blocked if I have to follow processes” behaviour. I applaud him:


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