This is Panasonic’s entry for the Brand Collateral category at the Design Lions Grand Prix: “Life is Electric”. Created by Dentsu Inc. Tokyo, the film compares the power output of a Panasonic battery with that of a hamster running on its wheel, a table covered in halved citrus fruits, a waterfall, and so on. We loved this entry for three key reasons: it awakens fond feelings within the viewer for batteries and for electricity more broadly; it cleverly plays on a nostalgia for analogue electronics (watch out for this trend over the coming years); and above all, it emphasises the compact power of Panasonic’s product.

We were impressed – and so were the judges at Cannes, who awarded the clip the coveted Design Grand Prix award. Jury President Tristan Marcherel commented:

“This piece for all of us is very special because it managed, through the power of design, to change the perception of a product that has become a commodity by bringing storytelling to every space where the brand is in contact with the consumer.

“It managed to combine both cleverness and beautiful craft, what we believe design should do today.”

Learning the lessons of Panasonic’s success

Marcherel’s comments are valuable – they can be interpreted as a sort of priority checklist for others seeking to emulate Panasonic and Dentsu Inc.’s success. Let’s break down what he said and plan a response:

Bringing storytelling to every space where the brand is in contact with the consumer

Everyone has some batteries in their home, whether they’re powering clocks and cameras, sat pristine in their packaging or lying discarded in a draw of clutter. They are a low-key character in the milieu of daily life.

“Life is Everyday” doesn’t directly reference this role – it’s subtler than that. Instead, the film places batteries in a host of quirky yet quotidian contexts that serve equally well to remind the viewer of the product’s place within a happy, homely life. These contexts lend good karma to the product by association.

Evoking the positive connotations that lie hidden within a product or brand’s interactions one of the most effective routes to achieving a broader and deeper appeal. Be subtle, be likeable and aim to win hearts with patience and gentle appeal.

Changing product perception through the power of design

As we all know, design context is crucial in defining a product or brand within a piece of marketing collateral.

“Life is Electric” starts strong, with a playful animation of cartoon cars driving around a 2D town. It’s at once evocative of childhood and of electricity passing through the circuit (at the same moment we are textually prompted to consider how electricity might look if we could see it).

This opening gambit encapsulates the defining brilliance of Panasonic’s film: it inspires the viewer to consider the role of electricity – and batteries by extension – in their lives from childhood onwards. For parents, this might also evoke thoughts of their own children’s positive interactions with electronic games and toys.

Combining cleverness and beautiful craft

Truly great marketing is created through the interplay of ingenious concept design and planning with expert execution – one half doesn’t work without the other.