Why I like it: “A lovely little feast for the senses”. Bailey’s lovers might describe the product in this way, but it’s what I felt while watching the ad. It’s like a one-minute party for the eyes, ears and mind, leaving you with a smile on your face and the name Bailey’s on your brand. Very nice! Let’s list the ways: An inspired execution that more than makes up for a fairly vague idea/tagline. A fantastic opening visual of the ice breaking through the surface, which hooks you right from the start…and this is amplified tenfold by the music track which is oh-so-right for this ad. A lovely closing visual linking us back to “real” world. And even quirky little touches throughout that kept you wondering (did anyone notice the dancer with the tattoo on her upper back? that must have been on purpose – perhaps they were trying to portray “real” women instead of professional dancers?) Very nice indeed. I wonder if they passed quantitative testing on this (they probably didn’t!). Folks, take note – there is a place for “art” and “risk taking” in advertising. Every now and then let’s hand the reigns over to someone really, trulytalented, and let them fly freely to see where they get us. Rationality, clarity and discipline are a must…but without a touch of risky, artsy whimsy every now and then, the advertising world would be a very monotonous place filled exclusively with side-by-side demos, whiter fabrics and “reasons to believe”:)
Why I like it: Umm, no. It’s not just two women kissing…that would be too easy, and it wouldn’t be nearly as good, if at all. For starters, this one falls right into the folder of “so simple and obvious I can’t believe it hasn’t been done 100 times before!”. The visual is perfectly married to the headline, which is perfectly married to the offering. A lovely little print ad sequence of: a great visual hook catching your attention and…leading to a simple-yet-evocative headline, which pays off the visual and makes you look at it again, appreciate the cleverness, and then…back to the sub headline, where it all makes full sense, the loop is closed, you capture the advertiser that brought this to you and think well of them, and you archive it in your mind for (perhaps) later retrieval. Just perfect, what else can you ask from a print ad? I’m particularly impressed by how they managed to very delicately to balance between being sensual and provocative….and also…very elegant and aspirational – not easy at all to do! Harvey Nichols has been doing some great work of late, and as this body of work starts building over time, it says something important about the retailer – people do notice these things, if only because most retail advertising is so mediocre. Well done to our friends in Adam&EveDDB in London!
Client: 20th Century Fox Chasing Mavericks (a surfing movie)
Name: “Surfing NYC”
Category: Ambient/viral video
Why I like it: Orange skies at dawn. Quiet stillness all around as two surfers go through their preparation rituals, they gently glide onto their trusted boards and paddle into position as they become one with the undulating…streets of Manhattan(!) What do I like most about this web video? That they really went for it. This is in support of a surfing movie premiering this weekend in the US and it’s an interesting concept. But think how easy it would have been for them to go at it half-way. They could have used skateboards. Or the hills of Central Park, or done something on the East River. Or used many other shortcuts and visual metaphors to sell the same idea. But no, they set out to “surf” the streets of Manhattan and they sure did it, in every way except for the water. Everything about the clip, from the mellow soundtrack to their wetsuits, to their placid movements on the boards said “surfing”…and against the urban backdrop the result was…pretty unique. Surely this is a pretty niche action, and if you don’t already know about the movie they didn’t do a good job of linking it or telling you a little more – so it may not be perfect by any means. But it made me think of surfing, it gave me a nice little moment of urban NYC daydreaming, and it put the movie on my mental map. Mission accomplished!
Client: XBox Forza Horizon (car racing video game)
Name: “Streets of Toronto”
Category: Ambient/viral video
Why I like it: It’s a super-cool, branded music video. Awesome track, amazing cars, beautiful slow motion visuals, great sound design, fun to watch – what’s not to like? Oh yes, the actual idea was good too: for gamers, the “player 1” and “player 2” device is instantly recognizable as a video game convention and would definitely catch the eye if seen live, on such unusually awesome cars rolling through your city – it’s the type of thing you’d take a picture of on your phone and send it with friends. But more broadly, there are two lessons here: 1) I think this puts to bed any doubt that the “case study video” has become THE means of truly amplifying activations/events/ambient stunts. It’s increasingly unimportant how many people are actually there live, as long as you can get great footage that you can control, optimize, and ultimately serve up to the many more people who will see it online. The bigger that ratio between live/online is, the more successful the overall action (for the 007 stunt that Coke Zero just did, I’d estimate it was 200 people live for 10 million online – not bad!) 2) Until fairly recently (1 year ago) there wasn’t a big awareness of this – only a few agencies understood it and while they scored big with user engagement and awards shows, the others lumbered along believing that activations were limited in scope. Now…everybody gets it, and everybody is scrambling in the same direction. Good for us! Who’s next?
Why I like it: I dare you. Watch this ad without smiling. You can’t. Watch this ad without getting a warm feeling. You can’t. That’s advertising gold. But there’s a big “IF”. It’s gold IF one is able to link the message with the brand/product, IF the good feelings are associated in the brain with the brand that brought them to you. That’s the big test. This ad is a very risky proposition, considering there is no car, no VO, no demo, no category, no brand, no nothing until the last 2 seconds! It could have been an ad for any product. The question is, will you believe that it comes from VW? Will you make the link? Will it affect your feelings for the brand and not just for life in general? For me the answer was “yes”, and thus I find this ad is a home run, a small gem. It works because VW has been doing amazing work it with its advertising over the last 2-3 years, giving us varying degrees of “car” information but always within a very human, very emotional shell. It works because it’s a part of a robust media plan with multiple messages that build up over time (people still remember “The Force” even a year and a half later). In essence, VW has worked hard over a period of time and has “earned” the right to issue this type of manifesto. And they’ve done it with staggering simplicity, elegance, and impact. I’d be shocked if this didn’t make the brand manager very nervous at first sight. I’d be shocked if this underwent extensive consumer testing, I’d be shocked if it survived quantitative testing. And yet…here it is! Kudos to Deutsch LA, what a shame it would be if advertisers and agencies did not take these chances every now and then, because these are the types of efforts that elevate our profession.
Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!
Location: Los Angeles
Client: Rainforest Alliance
Name: “Follow the Frog”
Category: Film/viral video
Why I like it: The humor and executional style made me want to watch it again. It made me feel good towards the brand/message being “sold”. And it made me want to share it with others. What more can one ask for?! Let’s say your client has a message, some production money and no media budget. They come to you and ask you to create and produce content that will help spread the message. Here’s what you’re not going to do: You’re not going to mention the word “viral” at any time before the job is a success (it’s only viral once it becomes viral, until then it’s just content!). You’re not going to treat this as a tv commercial (a tvc is backed by millions in media to get seen, yours is only backed by the quality of the content!). You’re not going to rely on social media to “make it huge” (you have to push it and nudge it, social media is a channel not a guarantee of amplification!). What you are going to do is create the very best content you’ve ever done – content that has replayability, brandability, and sharability. If you do that, and do it very well, maybe you can call it a viral video someday!
Why I like it: This ad is a good example of “keep it simple and execute the hell out of it” advertising. The insight is simple, something like “IKEA enables people to get together with their loved ones”. The idea is pretty simple, something like “show kids interacting with IKEA products as they prepare a fun dinner party with real and imaginary friends.” In storyboard format, it would have been a decent-but-not-great idea. But put it in the hands of talented people and see how it springs to life! First, the music…so absolutely vital in determining energy, tone, pacing, and more…and so often left until the end of the creative process. Second, the choreography. Not the stage directions, the choreography…because this ad is not unlike an intricate dance – it looks like a single take, unless tricky editing was involved. All of it comes together with marvelous whimsy…it leaves you with a smile, and it establishes IKEA at the center of people coming together…in a way that is both interesting and engaging. Great stuff from London brightening up this rainy Shanghai Monday!
PS – Notice the opening slate: “IKEA presents…” I’m sure you read it, but did you notice it? If you’re like me, you read it, did not really notice it, but thereafter you were very much aware of IKEA product presence within the ad…which likely would never happen without the opening slate. Very clever! Good product/brand linkage is sometimes taken for granted, which is a mistake. This ad without the slate is a nice ad featuring happy children. With the slate it retains all the good parts, but it’s also a “nice IKEA ad featuring happy children”. Big difference!
Why I like it: A delightful idea, executed very, very nicely with the right touch of humor and style! Picture the brief – your French Railway client has opened up a high-speed service connecting Lyon to Brussels and they want to raise some awareness and buzz, and don’t have much money. How do we get people in Lyon to “think Brussels”? I won’t spoil it, see for yourself – but I’ll highlight two elements that stand out to me: One is that this idea is so logically linked to the product/service being sold. It makes logical sense…it’s all a metaphor for instant connection to Brussels, and guess what now there’s a train that can do almost the same thing. It’s not only about the execution, but about how the benefit is at the core of the idea. At work last month we’d considered something extremely similar for another client, but ultimately dropped it because we felt it didn’t connect…the execution was popping more than the brand/benefit – and that’s not enough. Two, as I said before with the Sprite video from Ogilvy Sap Paulo, the resulting FILM from the action is actually better than the action itself. It’s a new form of creativity, with actually a much broader audience than the actual stunt! If before most of the energy and talent went behind the original event, leaving some junior producer to handle the “case study video”, nowadays we have to balance it out…if not actually invert the ratio. Agencies and clients that do are leveraging the digital and social media properly, and probably cleaning up at awards/efficacy shows too. Agencies and clients that don’t are probably putting together nice ambient stunts seen by…200 people. Not enough. Tres bien for our Parisian friends on this one!
Why I like it: It’s very visually interesting (see it large), it very clearly communicates the consumer problem/need, it provokes a visceral reaction, it’s quite unique and original in a category where we feel we’ve seen “white flakes on shoulders” done a million times. What else can you ask for from a print ad, apart from perhaps a little more brand linkage? It’s very typical of Chinese advertising in the way they focus on a very functional message with complete clarity. This can be understood just as easily by a remote village dweller as by a Shanghai high-rise resident…and in China this matters a lot. And to their credit, the message is simple but the art direction is elegant and well executed. Nicely done by my “neighbors” in Hangzhou!
Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!
Agency: N/A (directed by film maker Joe Wright)
Location: Los Angeles?
Name: “There you are”
Why I like it: Sometimes you you aim high on the “artsy” scale and you nail it. Others you fall to a fiery death. A major brand, with a major star, the stakes are high. Where did this one land for you? This is the playback of my thoughts as I watched this 30 second tvc: “Wow…Brad Pitt!…that’s pretty big time…must have cost a bundle…what’s he saying?…oh, I get it, it’s a joke…going totally over the top on purpose…love self-deprecating ads…nice “angst-ridden artiste” look, Brad! Love the long hair!…oh yeah baby, awesome nonsense…ham it up! c’mon give me more!…yes! look into the camera dreamily…talk to me Brad, TALK TO ME!…”my luck my fate my fortune”, sweet nonsense, nice!…ok, time to start bringing it in…give me a goofy smile…break it up…give me the punchline, tell us the joke…wait…you’re running out of time, Brad, hurry!…wait wha…this is for real?…are you serious Brad?…hello, Chanel…what?…you can’t be serious… hahahahahahahahahahaha!…oh boy, what a bunch of BS…”
I like to share things that I think are awesome, and this one was so bad that it was awesome indeed:) How did it work for you?