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  • David Meikle

Gorillas are not for everybody.

Gorilla campaigns are those campaigns that stop you in your tracks, make you think twice or make you join some of the dots yourself. They’re emotive for sure, but they can also be polarising or controversial.

M&C Saatchi’s latest work for Huawei appears to be a candidate for Gorilla status. It has already caused a buzz amongst the aderati on Twitter. The campiagn features a series of shots of women breastfeeding their infants in public spaces. The shots are black and white and a evoke calm, natural appearance of both mother and baby. The headline reads…


…(set, of course, by somebody from the Watford School of Titchy Type as my old boss used to say), and is promoting the Huawei P30 Pro, which features shareable contact charging. The women all appear to be cool, urban, stylish mothers in a shop, a café and a bus.

Conscious that, for some, I’m the party dolt who explains the punchline to the joke I’ve just told, the idea is that we take for granted the natural sharing of energy between mother and infant through breastfeeding, but - if we think about it - it’s amazing; it’s also amazing that you can place one device on top of another and they can share their battery power. The subhead reads:


Share energy between two devices anywhere.”

You can see what some of the detractors say, here:

And, somewhat cynically, nonetheless some of these detractors believe it will scoop at the advertising award dos.

For me, thinking the following:

Yes, it will polarise opinion, it already has, but those against it (older, conservative, cynical) it will likely be outnumbered by those in favour of it (younger, urban, busy).

Not everybody will get the analogy immediately, indeed some didn’t, but the talk surrounding it will bring it home for many who don’t first time around.

For a company currently being lambasted as a servant of the Chinese state, it yells independence of thought and opinion for Huawei.

The noise it creates will increase the ads’ exposure by a magnitude in unpaid media.

Yes, there’s risk involved, but creativity is risk. Will it work? I don’t know. I think it probably will, but that’s the nature of bravery. Is the potential downside worth it? It will likely mostly upset those who don’t matter too much to the brand.

Whatever people think of the ads, most of all, I admire them for their courage. A big corporation publicly standing for something that in many countries is still a socially contentious point (yes, we are in the 21stcentury, but apparently there are a few that didn’t get the memo). It worked for Nike and Kaepernick didn’t it?

And as Bill Bernbach sagely noted:

“If you stand for something, you will always find some people for you and some against you. If you stand for nothing, you will find nobody against you, and nobody for you.”

Time will tell if this is the gorilla I think it is, but the first step is having the guts to try, and this campaign certainly ticks that box for me.

David Meikle

Author, How to Buy a Gorilla.

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