The age old magic of advertising : Winderoe’s ‘Grandpa’s Magic Trick’ ad campaign

Oh no, not this again

Everyone and their chips should know by now that I hate advertisers, mostly because of their lazy stereotyping and their constant need to keep us consuming rather than creating.

There is one thing I can’t deny though, the very best of them are perhaps the greatest storytellers of our generation.

They can do in 30 seconds of film and a perhaps a single frame and text in print,  what most creative people will never manage to achieve in their lifetimes.  This is perhaps because they have these  size constraints and monetary incentives that forces out the very best of their creative nature.

They may very well be right when they say Necessity is the mother of Invention.



Browny points if you know which show the ‘Mother of Invention’ is from

I only wonder what they’d be capable of if they weren’t forever trying to sell you pointless shit.

Anywho, here is an example of a gem.


What am I buying?

While watching one of my regular youtube videos, I stumbled upon greatness.

An automatic ad came up that I couldn’t bring myself to skip and I’m bloody glad I didn’t.

Most of the time, a modern advert does very little to actually promote the product it’s selling. Instead it uses sensory overload or subconscious conditioning to keep the company’s memory in your thoughts until a time of need. You only have to look at the majority of car, perfume, posh restaurant, watch, insurance adverts (i.e. luxury goods) and you get all these nonsense ads that don’t reflect the product at all. Instead you are being sold an ideal  it apparently represents, no more, no less.



This advert is different though, This one is all encompassing.

At its essence, it showcases just a simple magic trick but in reality, it is so much more.

Before I get into the magic of this advert, I want to talk specifically about magic itself. I just wanted to write a tiny bit but it started to take over this post, so you can find it here

Right on with the main event .


 One more with feeling

Back in 2011, A Norwegian company called Winderoe commissioned an advertising campaign by McCann in order to highlight one of their unique selling points over their competitors. For those of you who haven’t seen it, This is what they came up with


Grandpa Magic Trick




Holy Fucksauce...

Holy Fucksauce…


Doesn’t that just make your heart melt? 🙂


There are a couple of messages I manage to derive from this trailer


The message

The first and commercially most important message is the one regarding the client’s product. Without bringing attention to it, the advert clearly shows that even in such a remote location, Winderoe takes off regularly enough for an old man to repeatedly conjure up  feats of magic, keeping his grandson locked in entertainment for hours on end.


Job Done


It’s crazy to even think that someone could literally sell you a notion  without even bringing it up once. Everything here is implied and under the table but not far away that you can’t perceive the business message behind it.

It’s genius, it’s simple, it’s not heavy handed, it’s subtle and delivers on all aspects of what you would want from a modern advert. Entertaining, yet informative without being derogatory to the viewer.

All boxes ticked.


Ok, One more….

Secondly, just as we have all become cynical to the ways of magic, with everything that has happened to the aviation industry since the twin towers incident back in 2001, we have lost our love affair with flying.

When once it was synonymous with adventure and complete freedom, it is now heavily associated with terror. Personally I’m not sure why they waited till post 2001 for this to occur, not when R Kelly was menstruating into the wind with his1996 monstrosity ‘I believe I can fly’. Now that was REAL TERROR.




For most, flying from one destination to another is nothing more than the sum of the following bores;

  • Getting through an airport security,
  • Making sure you don’t lose your luggage,
  • Filing for visas,
  • Getting through customs,
  • Flight delays
  • Security checks,
  • Endless waiting in boring airports,
  • Crap seats, no leg room,
  • Sneaking bombs onboard,
  • Rubbish food and toilets,
  • Bad turbulence and
  • Poor choice of online films,
  • Jet lag

and everything else in between.

I for one was brought up with aviation fluid pumping through my veins with an inherited desire to be a pilot but even for me, the romance of simple domestic flight has started to lose its contrast.




Most of us have forgotten that we are actually flying for the love of chips. I mean, there is literally tons of metal in the air, falling with style at incredible speeds. Just over a hundred years ago, such a feat was deemed IMPOSSIBLE.

If a flux capacitor holder from 1900 broke the 88MPH limit and visited us today, they ‘WOULD’ find the concept of flight  simply breathtaking and be  horrified no one else saw it that way.

Then again, this happened with roads, it happened with boats, it happened with trains, it happened with roller skates, it was only a matter of time till flying was gonna get taken for granted.

But from the depths of complacency, this advert manages to quite literally capture the magic of flying again because you impulsively react as the boy did.

You can’t help but be taken back to a time when flying was still a wonder, when you used to run around your back garden with your arms out wide beside you and soar.



Any ad that takes you back to better times is a good one in my eyes.


Another one, then I’m done

The advert itself plays as an incentive for you to visit loved ones in the first place. Alot of us are separated by some distance from our grandfolk, I mean all of mine are in another plane of existence to start off with but that’s a piece for another entry.

The advert makes you wish to engage in those special moments with your loved ones while they are still around, making you want to fly to those remote regions of the world and to live out those special moments that both individuals will take with them to their graves. The advert is truly all encompassing.


Just One More…

Thirdly,  that young boy/old man dynamic is SUCH a special relationship that is sooooooooo underrated in society and it is this balance of youth and wonder and age and experience that most male adults (in the middle) wished they had.

Most either have too much of one without the other, while many have none at all, as they still try to hit the daily grind. As someone in the middle, I reflect on doing this to younger members of my family while still remember it being done to me by my elders.

I reckon that younger boys are more reciprocal of information and knowledge told from older men and if more grandparents were around during the infancy and early development of children, our societies wouldn’t be as backwards and broken as they are now.

This advert just helps manifest how trying to teach an old dog new tricks may not always be the best way forward, we really should be getting all the old tricks from them first.


Final one, Promise…

This entire story is framed to the enticing rifts of a British band named ‘Daughter‘ and a song called Youth, which encapsulates what it means to be young, just like the boy in the advert. The musical build up, synchronises perfectly alongside the kid’s continuous pleas. The same symmetry can be found with the change in musical direction, married with the inevitable payoff of the prestige. The whole thing just gives a sense of gravitas to the spectacle and anchors those emotions in our subconscious minds, to regurgitate forever at our leisure.


Seriously, last one

All in all I think this advert will not be remembered for its ability to bring Winderoe more revenue, rather for where it will sit as a standalone piece of art.

It is a shame that the internet is full of such noise and clatter, so much so that something like this would have gotten missed. I mean it’s from 2012 and I’ve only just managed to catch it for the first time a few weeks ago.

Anyway, enough about that, now if you’d excuse me, in order to catch up on 2 year’s worth of greatness, I just have to see this advert, one more time…

.wideroe grandpa magic trick


Daughter – Youth