It’s not just Adele fans who were excited by a 30 second TV ad. The whole world of advertising is talking about it.
The idea of a teaser isn’t new but the audacity of running an ad with no name, no logo, not even a date is something unprecedented.
A teaser ad is meant to intrigue, to excite interest and that’s just what a black screen with white lyrics and an instantly recognisable singing voice did, but to what end?
Has there been a more anticipated album since Sergeant Pepper? Rumours of a new Adele album have been floating around for years. Suddenly, with no hint, no guest appearance on X Factor or Graham Norton, no John Lewis or M&S style ‘watch tonight’ announcement, there it is. Only a fragment but that makes it even more like the tantalising glimpse of something in the undergrowth in Jurassic Park or when lightning flashes and a face is briefly revealed.
Only a major brand can get away with a teaser that doesn’t name the product. Apple may drop hints about their latest innovation but we know it’s an iPhone. A big show like Les Miserables can take small ads in the press with just the Cosette face, but there’ll still be a venue mentioned. The new James Bond may offer snatched scenes but there’s a release date at the end.
With a good teaser, you know enough about the product to feel part of a secret. It’s like a reward for loyal customers and loyalty is the ultimate aim of business marketing.
Adele’s marketing team went one further. We didn’t know the name of the album. We didn’t know the release date. We shared in an earlier stage than any of that. So in a sense it wasn’t even an advertisement. Instead it’s as if she said ‘I just wanted to let you who are loyal to me hear a bit of my new album.’ We recognised her voice so it made us insiders. That meant we had to talk about it. We couldn’t wait to know more. We had to pre-order the album. Because that’s how you repay loyalty.