Why I like it: This interactive website gives you a first-person-view look at the rainiest place on earth (it’s in India!), and it introduces you to a couple of “testers” for this line of shoes, allowing you to watch some clips about their experience in this part of the world. The whole experience is pretty immersive, features interesting stories, and is very well art directed (there is a lot of beauty – not only in the landscapes, but even in the simple design of the page). Best of all, the product story is integrated in a way that is credible and as informative as you want it to be…without being disruptive. In other words, it’s done right. This example and the Nivea work from last week show that, if you’re looking for engagement, the bar is set pretty high these days. Long gone are the days when you could get by with a simple web site – today that is merely the entry point, or the gate to e-commerce. For branded engagement on a web site consumers are demanding much, much more. And that’s a good thing. Nice work out of Norway to close out the week!
Why I like it: For the second day in a road, here’s an automotive category ad that really catches the attention, yet this time in a very different way. Let’s dissect it: no narrative tricks here, it’s a linear story featuring two “torture test” demonstrations of performance (the boulder dodging, and the boulder carrying).Throw in some nice special effects, some humor/surprise at the end and you’ve got a nice, decent car ad that probably delivers on the brief. But what really makes this ad special? The camaraderie, the realness, the warmth all brought to life by their silly singalong to a cheesy radio tune! It’s the story-behind-the-story that sets this ad apart – and I’d bet they didn’t feature this or test this in the original storyboard, it probably came about once they were already deep into production. The lesson here is that it’s never too late for that magical burst of inspiration to hit, that little detail that makes the difference. Even when you think you’ve taken care of the basics, one must keep pushing, picking, stretching. If you’re lucky the flash of genius comes early…or maybe it comes as late as the editing process…or maybe it never comes. But if you don’t push, it won’t happen. Can’t remember the last time I liked an ad about powerful pickup trucks, but this one makes the grade.
Why I like it: The car category is so filled with advertising cliches that when you see a new spin on things, it really catches your eye. In this case, the misdirection trick worked: just as I was admiring how awesomely luxurious it must be to fly in this private jet, the twist at the end really delivered the product benefit in a sharp, crisp manner, with even a bit of comedic exaggeration thrown in (“this is crazy excess! well, maybe in Dubai…not so much!”) The interesting thing was that my mind shuts down at the sight of the typical “leather stitching” shots in luxury car ads…but because the framing was different (ie: because I was tricked into thinking I was looking at the inside of a sheik’s private jet, which is a more unusual subject) my mind was wide open to soaking in the images. Clever, tricky, and expertly executed. Good stuff, for our first ever Ad of the Day from Dubai!
Why I like it: A print ad should catch your attention in the first 2 seconds, or you’ve lost the reader. This one catches your attention, and holds it…you smile, look at the bottle, think of the name of the product, look at the man, then back at the bottle, then smile again, then remark on the product name once again, filing it in your memory bank…what else can you ask for? Much good advertising is born from a great product. And a cider called “Dirty Granny” (by the way, Granny Smith is a variety of green apple)is simply begging for some great work. But then you still have to execute it, and the trick is to be edgy but accessible, funny but not over-the-top. Many would take it too far, and fail for being too obvious. Here I think they nail it with amazing casting, sharp photography, fantastic art direction, and great copywriting (and by great copywriting, I mean resisting the temptation to include copy where none is needed!). Cheers to that.
Why I like it: I was struck right away by this visual: elegant, different, and loaded with meaning. So much that it made me go check out the site, where the concept is brought to life much more fully: each of the fingers belong to an activist around the world, and they “sing” the respective key so one can play the piano – while also learning about their individual struggles, finding out how you can contribute, etc. Far from being the usual semi-scammy Amnesty International ad (simple impactful visual and not much more), this one has a lot of depth of content for full engagement. And it’s executed very nicely. Good stuff from Turkey! (Warning…if you were around in the 80’s, a certain Paul McCartney/Michael Jackson song will get stuck in your head even just by reading the headline!)
Why I like it: When a branded website keeps me engaged for over 5 minutes, well that’s really quite unusual…normally it’s more like 10 seconds, if at all! What we have here: 4 fun/sexy videos featuring a famous Ukrainian pop duo in different parts of their day (the different moods and lyrics match up with 4 Nivea shower gels). The fun part is that the singing you hear is submitted by random people that uploaded their karaoke attempt – some are great, some are awful, you can click through them. And of course…why not try it yourself and see if you can do better? What works here is the mixture of entertainment (the videos are pretty cool), the possibility for a fun engagement (c’mon, you know you want to sing in Ukrainian!), and seamless product integration. Often we have one or a few of these elements present, but very rarely are all three there and dialed up to such a high level. I really enjoyed this, and I think it could be localized to work all over the world – after all who doesn’t do a little singing in the shower every now and then? Fantastic work out of this digital shop in Kiev (and our first ever Ad of the Day from Ukraine!)
Why I like it:This silly video really brightened up my morning, and left me humming the song all day long…(and I’m not even a dog lover!) Sometimes, that’s all it takes. In general, good advertising is really hard work, done by talented people. (the other day I described it as “a perfectly calibrated 30 second bit of entertainment/sales” – how fancy!) But every once in a big while you see a video like this and you realize it can also be so easy. This idea is something that a 6-year-old would come up with, and it works precisely because of that simple, unpretentious, infectious joy that just seeps out from every corner. Consider that there are so many things “technically” wrong with this video (eg: brand linkage? they could have put just about any logo at the end and it would have worked almost as well!)…and yet…against all odds…it works. Lack of branding is not a problem, this is one of those examples where you enjoy the video so much that you “pay it back” with your attention, as if saying “that was great, ok, go ahead and tell me…who was this is from?”. Ninety-nine percent of the time this approach yields a disaster ad that is quickly forgotten, but when it works, well…it works. And a special note on the music…when it’s just right…what a powerful shortcut to emotion!
Client: Metro Trains (rail/subway systems of Melbourne)
Name: “Dumb ways to die”
Category: Film/viral video
Why I like it: Very catchy, very cute, but with an edge, and with a healthy dose of humor. Hits all the right notes, and delivers the “be safe around trains” message loud and clear. Just great. Getting the message across is actually quite hard in these public service announcements, because people instinctively don’t like being told what to do. If you go too soft, the message won’t be heard. If you’re too aggressive , people shut off their minds, or even reject your well-meaning message. Hitting that middle note is key, and here I think they nail it with an enjoyable 3 minute animated music video. There are so many other ways in which they could have attempted to deliver on this brief…and even once they landed on this idea, there are so many other ways in which they could have executed it…Just goes to show that when something is “just right”, it’s a minor miracle of brilliance, courage, perseverance, and good luck!
Why I like it: This ad warmed my heart by capturing the multi-layered emotions of the season in a way that was captivating, interesting, funny, and above all: real. It’s that time of the year and the Christmas ads are coming, and many of them will attempt to bring to life the great emotion and magic of the season – and that’s perfectly fine…but that’s why this one stands out for me. As a colleague of mine put it, this one captures the reality of Christmas (with quite a bit of whimsy, though!), not just the idealized, mythical, over-romanticized version. Lovely writing, casting, flair, pacing…and a heart-warming, soaring finale. Really nicely done!
Translation: “The world needs better technology. Saturn has technology.”
Why I like it: Damn. These guys really went for it, didn’t they? Is this a preview for the latest summer blockbuster movie, or is it an ad? A cardinal rule of advertising is: get noticed. If not, you’re not even in the game. One way of getting noticed is to very finely balance the crafts of marketing, strategy, creativity, and film production to generate a perfectly calibrated 30 second bit of entertainment/sales called a “TV ad”. Your message enters the mind, sometimes subliminally and other times through an open door in payback for 30 seconds well-spent. Great! Now, another (much less common) way to get noticed is to just say “Screw it, let’s go crazy, but so crazy that we produce something people will have to look at. will have to share. Forget the rules, forget the strategy, forget the budget, forget everything – let’s raise the stakes, then let’s raise them again, let’s let imagination run wild, and let’s aim to produce a piece of film that falls well outside the boundaries of the tv ad. Maybe I get fired over this one. Actually I’ll most likely get fired over this one. But I’m not getting any younger, so let’s go.” This Saturn ad falls in the latter camp. Someone had to put a lot on the line, and I love them for it. This type of ad bursts into your mind using a bazooka, demanding to be recognized, whether the ad was technically perfect or not. This is risky, of course, because it only works if you produce something truly different, and that’s quite hard to pull off. But here I think they do. It’s not nearly as good as the epic Philips “Carousel” Grand Prix winner from 2009…but I was reminded of it, and that’s high praise (if you haven’t seen it, click here and do so right now!). I’m surprised why smaller brands in particular don’t try this more often. It’s one of the only ways to change the script and get a breakthrough against the larger competitors!