Why I like it: It’s so hard to do “funny” properly…and here I think they nail it. A crazy premise delivered in a serious, go-all-the-way manner, just lovingly executed. From the premise, to the little details like the awesome soundtrack, the movie cliches, the slow-down scene at the roadblock, etc. Nothing revolutionary about the “idea” in this ad, it’s the execution that makes it work! I was at a workshop earlier this week where an interesting thought was raised: in some categories (beer?) where there is nothing really new left to say, or where you very seldom get a truly new insight/idea, there is still a way to shine and innovate: by having your execution be the “idea”. So instead of “a good story (idea) well told (execution)”, what stands out in these categories is “a really amazing way (execution) to tell a story (idea)”. Worth a thought. Well done to the crew at Clemenger, whose past effort for Carlton beer was featured here and was a lion winner at Cannes!
Why I like it: So damn clever. Mentos is not known for gum, so of course they need maximum breakthrough in this campaign – they need to be noticed, and they need to get the “new news” across (being confused for a regular Mentos ad is not good enough). So their solution is to stick to the basics and just simply announce the product launch with complete clarity “Look! we have gum!”…and they place the announcement in a spot where you can’t help noticing it (right over a clothing malfunction, sure, that’s where my eye would go to!) Brilliant. And it’s not only that they put their message over the interesting part of the image…it’s that they disguise the entire ad as content…not advertising. Ads 1 and 2 appear in celebrity magazines like People, US Weekly, etc where this type of photo is actually sought-out content. The third one is on magazines like Maxim, same deal. An inspired triple whammy: they camouflage the ad as content to turn off your “ental ad-blocking filter”, they draw your eye to the spot on the page that you obviously want to look at…and then they deliver the message with clarity and impact. So obvious, yet so hard to do! Hats off to the folks at The Martin Agency on this one!
Why I like it: It catches your attention, and forces you to read the copy, where it delivers the message that pays it all off, in a branded way, and with a chuckle. That’s all you need. Two thoughts that came to mind as I appreciated this series of ads. 1) One often hears that you need to be telegraphic, to tell the story in an interesting and immediate flash of brilliance, before the fickle consumer turns the page. But…I think this might not be enough for great print. You need a two-step process where you hook the attention…without giving it all away. That’s how you force them to read the copy. And that’s where you introduce your product as a central part of the story. If not – they’re just going to remember the very clever visual metaphor/analogy, and not that ad about your product. 2) It occurs to me that in print the very best images not only communicate the message of the moment…but create a story in your mind…set your mind thinking about the before and after, the whole universe that surrounds this one shot. A couple of buddies backpacking across India, daring each other to eat the first thing they see when they arrive to a village…the friend barely containing his laughter as he takes the picture…the jokes at the gastro-suffering that surely followed…it goes on an on. Same with the poor overweight backpacker that reached the peak, cursing to the heavens in his mind, but still gives a feeble thumbs up to fake his good cheer…or the guy in the dolphin suit wondering if it’s all really worthwhile. You could write whole paragraphs triggered by these shots. And this has to count for something. Inspiring work coming at us from beautiful Cape Town!
Translation: With eggs (a wordplay also meaning “with guts”), with veal, with friends, with family, get together…rock it. Matarazzo…people want to get together.
Why I like it:Wow, for a commercial about pasta this is really pretty bad-ass! Almost a rock music video/mood film rather than a typical pasta ad about wholesome ingredients and your sweet Italian grandmother’s recipe. Cool editing, camera tricks and of course the rocking sound track really grab your attention…and then, subtly, the message of group bonding and getting together over Matarazzo pasta is delivered. One can debate the relative merits of this ad at communicating the brand, or specific product attributes, etc., but what is not for debate is that this ad is different, while still being delicious and showing off the food quite nicely. And if you’re a low involvement product like “pasta”, being different is just about the only way you’ll be given a chance to be first noticed, then heard, and perhaps even remembered, and hopefully then…purchased. Dare to be different – it’s not just good creativity, it’s good business. Great work from Madre BA to close out the week!
Why I like it: The “torture test” ad is as old as creativity itself, and it continues to be used reliably in all types of ads (cars, detergents, technology, services, apparel, home improvement…you name it). Why? Because it has a very simple structure: an exaggerated creative hook (the “torture test”) that gets your attention and at the same time dramatizes the benefit. Note that this connection between the interesting part of the ad and the product benefit is key. Here I think they check all the boxes, and the result is a real attention-getter for a travel booking service. As always, big credit goes to having an idea that is daring, and then actually managing to get it done. How many times during the process did the thought “yeah, that would be really great, but we can’t really pull it off. How can we make it just as interesting but a little bit more viable?” go through the mind of the account person/producer/brand manager? Ideas are only “real” if they get produced. Thankfully this one did.
Bonus: Here is the first ad in the series. Just as cool:)
Why I like it: So much has been written, seen and debated about Axe that it’s hard to look at one of their spots without preconceived notions of horny teenage-boy fantasies. But put that out of your mind as you look at this lovely little ad for their shampoo. Two things jumped out at me as I watched. One, I love the insight about hair being the thing that girls see first. It’s different, intriguing, it rings true, and it fits perfectly within Axe’s brand positioning but in a more clever, slightly less over-the-top way. But the most obvious thing is the creative approach. Completely absurd and surreal…but it does manage to be endearing, truthful (what the guys look at first…true), and even sweet in depicting this budding office romance (which is not the common Axe approach.) It’s so obvious, isn’t it?: those of us in the industry (agency AND client) must take chances…or face indifference. There are probably 10 ways to make an ad about this insight, and very likely this is the only one that you would notice immediately on TV, that would catch your attention and even stick in your mind a couple of days later. This is the one you want…but that means that you had to had the courage of not going for the other 9. We should think about that as we engage with creativity: are we being courageous? If we aren’t, why should we expect the consumer to remember us?
Why I like it: When done right, creativity is so simple…case in point is this little gem from the UK celebrating an important yearly event that happened this weekend: the beginning of soccer/footbal/futbol in the UK, Spain and many leagues around the world. If you’re a fan, watch this with the volume on “high”, and prepare to get goosebumps. It’s hard to say exactly what this ad is about because it doesn’t have a story…it just shows us a glimpse into the raw, bonding emotion of the common fan over the sport that they love. And a great, touching glimpse it is. Oh, and let’s not forget the music…is there any doubt that it can be the ultimate emotional magnifier? Whatever the usage cost for this song was (and Rolling Stones songs can’t be cheap) it was worth every penny. Great ad to kick off the week, so simple yet so powerful (sometimes the best act of creating is merely to reflect what is in front of our very noses!)
Why I like it: And we end the week with a dose of double-brilliance: What a great example of taking a dull product attribute and making it totally shine. Performance and browser speed on a mobile phone is decidedly non-sexy. But the folks at Conseil amplified it tremendously through a really neat, intriguing creative idea…”surf as fast as you think”. And then they executed the hell out of it and made it 10x better! Funny, visually interesting, on target, suitably brand-linked, and totally effective in dramatizing the brand promise. I just loved it. And why, you ask, did I mention double brilliance? Check out the accompanying ad…and bow your head at the awesomeness of how they came up with this and pulled it off!
Why I like it: Ha! Love it. It’s a funny 2 minutes (it’d better be, if it’s for Comedy Central!), it has a bit of an edge (some Latins might be offended at the characterization…but if they are they’re not the target audience), it’s well-connected to the brand, and it’s not afraid to push things beyond, into that “silly zone” where the humor either works or doesn’t. I’ve written before about online videos, because their “virality” is so elusive…if we knew what caused it, we’d do it all the time. In this case, the video has a lot of “replayability” and “sharability”. The idea itself is not that creative or even funny. But the executional choices made show real comedic talent behind the scenes, and I’d bet that actual comedy writers (not just agency creatives) were involved in this…the oddly-german accent of the narrator, the inclusion of the Chinese second-place competitor, the way the judge disqualifies competitors with a slap and a “Fuera!”…little touches that take the idea and elevate it to…funny. So easy to enjoy when you watch it, so damn hard to accomplish! Nice work from our Paulista friends at W+K, parabens!
Why I like it: Honest question: why don’t we all do more of these types of “stunts”? Is it that we actually DO do them all the time, but most of them are lame so they’re never heard about again? Or is it that we simply lack the awareness and imagination to even give ourselves this type of challenge as part of our briefings? I think in most cases it’s the latter, and if so – what a missed opportunity! This video is funny and endearing, it leaves you with a smile on your face and in return you lower your anti-advertising defenses and you become a little more aware of Ultimate Vodka. Where is the risk? At worst, the stunt doesn’t work and your event (which was going to happen anyway) goes off as planned, with some additional production cost. At best, your event goes off as planned, but instead of your brand reaching 200 people you reach those 200 live plus 2 million online! Humble proposal: instead of treating these as an ad hoc thing, from now on every single brief for an event/activation/promotion should contain an open invitation to pitch web video content with potential “virality”. It’s a no brainer: it gets creative juices flowing in a different direction, it’s aligned with how most consumers interact with media today, it’s relatively inexpensive, and the potential payoff is huge.
PS – by the way, the video about the stunt is almost better than the stunt itself. The case study video is becoming a creative art-form of its own: agencies slow to recognize this are at a disadvantage!
PPS – You know who is great at these types of smallish-stunts-made-great-by-an-awesome-video? The Brazilians and the Argentines. I’m kind of surprised that this is from NY, but I guess even in the US small shops are catching on to this great vehicle for industry recognition…