Ad of the Day – April 1 (Paris)

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JacketDress  Purse

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Y&R
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Smallable (retail)
  • Name: “Adult Fashion, now available for kids”
  • Category: Print

Why I like it: Have you noticed that most good print ads seem so obvious, so simple…so “surely that must have been done before!” They are interesting enough to draw you in, visually crisp, clear in meaning. Easy, right? Well, not so much… after all, good print ads are somewhat rare. Think of the brief for this one (adult fashion now available for kids) Sounds pretty simple. But, do a quick mental brainstorm of how this could have been brought to life. Come up with 50 approaches. Now eliminate the 12 that are slightly off-brief. Get rid of the 13 that are the wrong tonality for the brand. Scratch the 9 that are complicated by too many messages. Discard the 6 that are formulaic in their execution. Delete the 5 that are just plain boring. Lose the 4 that have been done before. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’re left with a good idea like this one. Not…at all…easy!

 

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Ad of the Day – March 29 (Portland)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: Portland
  • Client: Oreo
  • Name: “Super Imporant Test”
  • Category: Web site

Why I like it: I just can’t make up my mind on this one. Half of me likes the cookie side better. Half of me prefers the cream side. Half of me thinks this site is brilliant. Half of me thinks it’s pointless. Half finds it strategic. Half finds it trivial and self-indulgent. Half is impressed by the infinite content. Half sneers at the wastefulness. Half of me thinks this was made by a crack team of creatives at W+K. Half of me thinks it was the intern in the basement, with a bag of weed, a handy cam and an iMac. Half prefers the cream (again). Half the cookie…Tough choices. But, you know what? As I was making these choices…I leaned forward and engaged with brand for about 10 full minutes, hitting “redo”15 times and even “share” as I was drawn in by the random, almost surreal humor of the videos. And at the core of this engagement is a constant, repetitive question (cookie? cream?) based on THE key product attribute of Oreo. Would I have stuck around for a “rational” conversation on this? Of course not. Did I stick around for this “nonsense”? Sure did! Who’s the clever one here?

Ad of the Day – March 28 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: None. Directed by Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Client: Prada Candy L’eau (perfume)
  • Name: “L’eau”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: How would one describe a Prada bag, or a Prada perfume? Let me try: luxurious, over-indulgent, unmistakably European, playful, stylish, a little cheeky, a little retro, even a little decadent. Somewhat pointless perhaps…but nonetheless an object of desire. Quirky and layered…but somehow light-hearted and well-paced. Overall, pleasurable and delicious. So…am I describing the brand, or the product, or the film? That’s the point – it could be either one! The fact that the tonality and essence of the film is so strongly evocative of the brand, to me that’s a sign of success. I was transfixed by the storytelling, the styling, and the breezy class oozing from this film. That’s what happens when you’ve got an interesting story, and it’s executed by people that really know what they’re doing!

Ad of the Day – March 27 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Rosapark
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Monoprix (retail store)
  • Name: Something like “Live today to the max”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: This film is worth sharing because it’s brimming, almost bursting with an odd energy and child-like whimsy. “Energy” and “fun” is often executed in am expected, standard way that falls flat even though it ticks all the boxes. Here it’s done in a way that is oddly off-kilter, almost a little surreal in parts: the muted color palette, the antiseptic boarding school setting, the slightly spooky piano lady…and then the kinetic reveal of the water balloons and the madness that ensues, neon-psychedelic effects included! All just unorthodox enough to be interesting and capture the imagination. Sure this could have been a little shorter, and sure it’s hard to make the brand linkage – the film is not perfect. But there is enough of a breakthrough here executionally that the idea gives itself a chance. Tres interesant!

Ad of the Day – March 26 (Milan)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: DLV BBDO
  • Location: Milan
  • Client: La Cucina Italiana (cooking magazine)
  • Name: “Where there is love, any match can work”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Ahhh, the power of storytelling. Turning even the most mundane topics into something with tension, with personality and with human interest. Ideally you look for the perfect balance between storytelling and execution (a great story…well told!) You can definitely get away with an ok story, wonderfully executed. What isn’t as common these days is to see a middle-of-the-road execution buoyed by a gripping story. This ad is like a mini 30 second play…and yet in such a short time it manages to capture the attention. And when the reveal comes, it’s a bit jarring, so unexpected, yet somehow just credible enough. This one is a bit different from every other ad that you see out there, and deliciously so.

Ad of the Day – March 22 (Rio de Janeiro)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Rio de Janeiro
  • Client: Dove Men (shampoo)
  • Name: “Slo-mo”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Ha! Some ads take their time in building towards the gag. Others like this one smack you with it in the first 3 seconds and don’t let go. It’s a simple idea that was executed “to the hilt”, with great results. The hair effects are well done and set up the great contrast with the drab surroundings and the average looking guys. And…the music! Music is often an amplifier of emotion but it’s not so often used to create “funny”. Here…it’s just hilarious. Might it have worked better as a 30? Perhaps. Is it a little bit confusing once the reveal comes? Maybe. But the hook is so crisp, so up-front, and so well executed that you start with a smile and don’t stop until the brand name gets imprinted on your brain. “Parabens” to our colleagues in Rio!

Ad of the Day – March 21 (New York)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Anomaly
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Converse
  • Name: “Shoes are boring. Wear Sneakers”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: I’m always a bit delighted when a brand faces a brick wall, an impossible scenario where every approach has been tried before…and then all of a sudden the brand finds a “way in”, an interesting angle that is works, and is fresh, and has a point of view. Take athletic shoes, for example. Nike is the juggernaut that defines the category, with Adidas close behind sucking up 95% of the rest of the oxygen. Done.  In comes Puma celebrating the “After-hours athlete”. Wow! Ok, amazing. No more room here, right? Now take Converse with this campaign – I think it’s lovely, because it elbows itself into the conversation by competing against…shoes (who knew?) Somewhat unexpected yet completely believable for the brand and relevant for their consumer. Well written, energetic, urban-hip, retro-yet-modern, a little naughty…this spot (one of many in a new campaign) is lovingly executed, and proves once again that while creativity sure ain’t easy…it’s just as true that good creativity has no limits.

Ad of the Day – March 20 (Buenos Aires)

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Click image to enlarge

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Buenos Aires
  • Client: TEDx Buenos Aires
  • Name: “Ideas Change This World. Spread Them.”
  • Category: Print

Why I like it: I’m a huge fan of good print ads that give more than they take: they take your attention and time, but then give you in exchange a thought to ponder, a new perspective on an old topic, a burst of emotion or reckoning, etc. This campaign from my friends at at Ogilvy Buenos Aires hits those notes exactly. There’s an interesting story about ideas and some celebrated men and women that shaped the world with them. Mental images and memories of John Lennon and Martin Luther King leap off the page with little prodding. There’s the credible role of TEDx as a catalyst of this powerful idea sharing. And of course …the way in which these stories are presented is so different that it catches your eye and then pulls you in…the copper bust with figurines going in and out, the odd miniature factory assembly-line, the stark background, it all looks like it came from someone’s very interesting dream! It’s quite simple really: “a great story, well told”. Well…it’s simple to put in a quote but it’s really quite hard to do – that’s why this one stands out. Los felicito, chicos!

Ad of the Day – March 19 (Santiago)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Larrain
  • Location: Santiago
  • Client: La Red (new tv network)
  • Name: “Let’s change our face”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: To have an “ass face” is a widely popular colloquial expression in South America, it’s used to describe those in a bad, sour mood. (as in “Don’t talk to Juan, he’s got a terrible ass face today.”) The joke was given away early on this one, yet I remained hooked until the end reveal because of the cultural trigger-point (South Americans will “get” this ad in 2 seconds), the engaging musical score, and the full commitment to the execution of the idea (they really went for it without apology: it was great how all the different ass faces had their own hair styles and personalities!) Best of all, it sets up the brand as the antidote, the one that can get us to change our face and get a new outlook. So let’s review: we have a clear message, a positive and central role for the brand, and a catchy hook that will grab the attention and get viewers sharing. Perhaps good enough to rid some of us of our ass faces this morning?

Ad of the Day – March 18 (Portland)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Client: Old Spice Wild Collection
  • Name: “Meet the Wolfdog”
  • Category: Web Film

Why I like it: How much fun! Meet the Wolfdog, the new Chief Director of Marketing for their Wild Collection line. Funny. Cheeky. Irreverent. Over-the-top. Contemporary. Viral. All of the adjectives apply – what a joy to come across a brand (and creative agency) that has committed to this type of engagement with its consumer! What really bowls me over is the ambition. The journey from silly little idea to an all-out execution must have been a real thrill ride: It’s not just this video, there is a series of videos. And Wolfdog also started a Twitter feed, has a LinkedIn profile, a Tumblr blog, and more. It remains to be seen if sales will follow, but in today’s wilderness of message-overload – Old Spice has grabbed the attention and gotten people talking. Without attention, you’re not even in the game – so…game on!