Broken Vase

December 2011

The power of flowers.

Advertising Agency: Spillmann/Felser/Leo Burnett, Zürich, Switzerland
Executive Creative Director: Martin Spillmann
Creative Directors: Peter Brönnimann, Simon Staub
Copywriter: Diana Rossi
Art Director: Reto Clement
Photographer: David Willen
Art Buying: Suzana Kovacevic

Comments (24)

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Highest Rated

Hawrys's picture
Activity Score 198

cool, but too far.

MicheleVirgilio's picture
Activity Score 2617


Hadrons's picture
Activity Score 6017



vote4pedro's picture
Activity Score 4601

leaves too much to interpretation. because i work in advertising, i think i get the idea. a couple was in a fight and the woman threw the vase at the man. then he went out and bought flowers. so she taped the vase back together to put the flowers in. i could be wrong, but that's the best i could come up with. that said, the average consumer wouldn't know what to make of it.

simonds08's picture
Activity Score 598

my best interpretation was that the roots were busting out of that vase! yours makes much more sense.

thedesignaddict's picture
Activity Score 5403


Thanks for the insight. I'm an ad-guy and I wouldn't have gotten this.

Art_Work's picture
Activity Score 29

Your first thought goes straight to domestic violence? That's a bit scary bro. The fact that you work in advertising and think that they would do an ad promoting domestic violence is even worse. I do agree that the average consumer won't know what's going on here. I'm thinking it's either the plant got too big and burst the vase, which has already been done and much better, or a great plant can make a crappy vase look good.

vote4pedro's picture
Activity Score 4601

It wouldn't be the first time that domestic violence has been the topic of an ad. There was an campaign posted on here recently for a soundproofing company that used domestic violence in an execution. I thought was in poor taste, but it does happen. Throwing a vase is an almost comical cliche for domestic violence. So no, it would not surprise me if that is in fact what they intended.

As for your interpretations of the ad, the first is probably way off. Sunflowers will not continue to grow when they're cut and put in water. The second is possible, but I think unlikely. Why use a broken vase that has been pieced back together when the idea would be more clear simply using an ugly vase? I lean towards my initial interpretation, but like I said, it's too ambiguous to know for sure.

NicoCiego's picture
Activity Score 1033

Spot on. And yes, the average consumer wouldn't know what to make of it.

Eugens's picture
Activity Score 2624

if that's what you understood, maybe you should quit working in advertising.

vote4pedro's picture
Activity Score 4601

Why's that? I'm relatively certain my interpretation was correct. But my point is the concept is not clear. So I very well could be wrong. I'd like to hear what you make of this ad. So I can benefit from the insight of such a great advertising mind.

Nike Diesel's picture
Nike Diesel
Activity Score 13630

Here's one: "If it's broke, try fix it with flowers." >>> kinda like a spin-off of their previous campaign "The Power of Flowers".
It doesn't have to be on the negative side because YOU recently saw an ad with domestic violence.

vote4pedro's picture
Activity Score 4601

I didn't take it negatively because of any ad I have previously seen. I only brought that up because someone thought it unlikely anyone would use domestic violence (if you even want to call a broken vase that) in an ad. I took this ad to be a negative because a broken vase is an old cliché for a woman's anger. And flowers are an equally cliché apology. Anyway, my point wasn't to argue what the visual means, but to state that its meaning is unclear. Considering so many people have come to so many different conclusions, I think that's fair.

Nike Diesel's picture
Nike Diesel
Activity Score 13630

Well, kinda... But you said it best:
"...because a broken vase is an old cliché for a woman's anger. And flowers are an equally cliché apology."
Which is the perfect match regarding the insight here. He broke something (in this case the vase), but fixes it instantly - with flowers (our hero). This ad is kinda like 2-in-1 :)

vote4pedro's picture
Activity Score 4601

That story doesn't feel very plausible. Breaking a vase on accident wouldn't be a big deal. Particularly an ordinary one such as this. So there would be no need to buy flowers to "fix" it. If anything, you'd buy another vase.

Nike Diesel's picture
Nike Diesel
Activity Score 13630

Because that's the fun part here, he doesn't buy a new vase but he really tries to fix it. Almost not, so along with flowers it's a win-win (in his eyes;). I'm guessing the insight is loosely based on men's clumsiness, both in life and relationships. And I'm presuming the TG is men. But obviously the message is not 100% clear as you pointed out, since European female temper tantrum is even mentioned. I saw this ad to be a half-full message, rather than pointing out the negative sides.

TRICKY's picture
Activity Score 3954

wow plenty of thoughts and debate ...still its a classic!!!! van gogh made it almost 100 year ago but yes still a classic

The man who stops advertising to save money is like the man who stops the clock to save time

Roger Keynes's picture
Roger Keynes
Activity Score 5498

Nice idea (and thought!) :)

The Jobless Writer
Will Think for Salary

iambusy's picture
Activity Score 2219

vote 4 pedro.... and they had an earlier c ampaign saying power of flowers and they focus more as flowers being a way to forgive etc


vote4pedro's picture
Activity Score 4601

if that's the case, i'm guessing my interpretation was probably correct. the strategy was probably something along the lines of selling flowers to men as a form of apology. outside of holidays and birthdays, that might be the most common reason to buy flowers.

AlvarezArt's picture
Activity Score 82

I just thought the vase had broken and the flowers make it beautiful again. Simple, that was my immediate thought.

armageddon's picture
Activity Score 8

Guys! A woman throwing a vase in a fight has nothing to do with domestic violence. It has to do with temper of a european women. Where are you guys from? The story is easy: The guy pissed the women of, they fight, she sends him to hell and throws the vase at him, he comes back with flowers. Peace again. And the metaphor for this is the fixed vase. Fixed vase = fixed relationship.
Domestic violence. WTF?

TheWasteBin's picture
Activity Score 108

I think you and vote4pedro hit it on the head here. Looks like some touchy folks reading the comments to me. The ad is definitely ambiguous, and for the record, I initially thought that "the power of flowers" was strong enough to repair the vase, as someone else said earlier. Maybe stupid, but that's what I got from it. I think the angrily thrown vase with a flower apology and reconciliation makes much more sense, but the everyday viewer probably won't understand before they have to move on. Btw, European women aren't the only one's to throw things.

stickynotes's picture
Activity Score 1094

this is the oldest flower ad in the world. couple makes up after fight, because he came back with flowers. boring..

Hawrys's picture
Activity Score 198

cool, but too far.