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I love my marketing and advertising people dearly and trust their judgement, but when a ‘civilian’ from outside the bubble shares an ad with me on Facebook, it makes my ad antennae twitch more.

When he introduces it with the phrase “Like the Gold Blend Couple… but way more filthy”, they positively buzz.

The Gold Blend Couple, if you don’t know, were characters whose will-they-won’t-they romance sold instant coffee in a series of classic UK and US ads. (One of them went on to play Giles in Buffy).

We’ve been interested in them – and others like them – because they’re an example of a Fluent Device (a recurring character or slogan in an ad that drives the creative).

But before we get into all that, take 5 minutes and watch the ads my friend was excited about. Yes, they’re safe for work.

(Thanks to YouTube user Violet Sumire for the compilation).

I personally think these Sakeru Gummy ads are brilliant. Cheeky, bold, life-affirming, and (of course) hilarious. They aired on Japanese TV from summer 2017, with the final one airing in February. I didn’t just share them with my team here at System1, I took them home and my kids are now running around yelling “Long Long Maaaaaaaaaan!”

They are also a fantastic example of a Fluent Device in action.

The Sakeru Gummy ads tick every box that defines a Fluent Device. Recurring characters and situations. A recurring slogan. The drama driven by the repeating elements. There’s even a devilishly catchy jingle.

And they do something Fluent Devices are truly great at. They provide a way of talking about the brand and the product features with absolutely no compromise on emotion.

Because the last ad only aired in February, I’ve no idea about ROI. And until we test them with a Japanese audience, we won’t get much of a feeling for whether Sakeru Gummy can expect brand-building benefits from this series of commercials, or whether this is mainly an ad which appeals to Western hipsters (and my sons).

What I do know is that Fluent Devices work. Working with the IPA last year, we showed that campaigns using one are more likely to create major business effects over the long (LONG LONG) term.

I hope you enjoy the Sakeru Gummy series as much as I did. Just remember that this isn’t quirky, or goofy, or ‘weird’ advertising. Behind it is a rock-solid effectiveness principle.

Tom Ewing is System1’s Head of Communications. He writes most of these posts in the first person plural. If you want to know more about Fluent Devices and effectiveness, get in touch.

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