Why I like it: The uncomfortable truth is that once you realize that this is a 13 minute short film, most of you won’t watch it (too long! who has such time?). Which immediately calls the whole thing into question (if we don’t care enough to watch a good piece of work…who will?) But let’s that aside for a moment. Even better, let’s set it aside for 13 minutes while you watch the film:) It’s quite flawless, really. Great casting featuring Damien Lewis. Superb acting ranging from the over-the-top villain to the cool-as-a-cucumber hero. Striking cinematography, taking full advantage of the arid wasteland (check out the upside-down aerial shot during the credits!) The plot is nicely paced, never lingering too long, and neither rushing things in the all-to-common action flick way. There’s even a twist at the end which I didn’t see coming. The sound design is fantastic, giving us the guttural roar of the engine in all the right places. And oh, yes…the car! What about it? Here is where the skill really shows: they nailed the precious balance at the core of all good product placement films: Just enough car so that you take it in with lustful eyes…but never so much that your brain says “wait! this is an ad! I’ve been tricked!” Watch the tense exchange beginning at minute 9 and you’ll see a master-class in layering product information within the story, not on top of the story. All in all, this film works. Despite its length it feels compact, not to mention ambitious, rich, and sophisticated. To borrow a quote from the late Roger Ebert (he wrote it about movies, but it works well here too): “No good film is long enough, and no bad movie is short enough.”
Why I like it: The first 44 seconds were not only quite cinematic and well produced – they were completely compelling. Once you start watching it’s impossible to pull away: the all-too-familiar vibrating “bzzzz”, the sleek lines of the kitchen, the suspenseful and deliberate movement punctuated by the falling salt shakers, the sudden realization of the doom that lies ahead, and finally the graceful, tragic plunge over the edge and onto the waiting blades. As the tagline comes in (“hard times for old smartphones”) we are treated to a visual reminder of just how hard those times are. Fantastic! In the back of my mind I was thinking “great…but where’s the brand or product? What is being offered in exchange of the old phones? how are they going to introduce it?” And then…we enter a different commercial altogether, with a jarring dub step soundtrack laid over flashing neon and angular shots of the new phone. It’s such a disconcerting departure…so violent, so awkward, and yet…it kind of works! I’m a little confused, a little jarred, but I’m sure not indifferent – and this matters. The creators really went for it in the first part…and really went for it in the second (albeit in a totally unexpected way). Nicely done – both times(!) for our first ever Ad of the Day from Dusseldorf!
Why I like it: Types of car ads that we’ve seen before: those that feature the…engine, suspension, ABS breaks, dynamic steering, design, safety, air bags, headlights, cargo capacity, turn radius, on-board computer, acceleration, sunroof, stereo system, on-board GPS, leather stitching, fuel economy…etc. Type of car ad that I’ve NEVER seen before: one that features the…backseat. OK, now you’ve got my attention! What comes after takes full advantage of it: a lovingly executed “anthem” ad, hitting the right emotional notes with a powerful “Pax Americana” cocktail of nostalgia, family, life journeys and soaring music. Imagine this ad if they had focused on a generic message of “fully redesigned”, instead of making it an “ode to the backseat”. Same exact benefit, but most likely it would completely blend in to the background noise of advertising. It would pass like a ship in the night. So, kudos to Subaru and Carmichael Lynch for realizing that, if you don’t get their attention, everything else that comes after is meaningless. Nicely done!
Why I like it: Oh, SNAP! Just in case you were getting a bit too comfortable and smug as you watch this ad on your new iPad while sipping a $4.00 soy mocha latte, here’s a reminder to that clicks, tweets, likes, forwards, posts…all of these daily buzz words are often just “fluff” in the face of real need. Get off your butt and donate, that’s the compelling call to action. I can sympathize with the message, but the best part is the finesse of the delivery (in public awareness ads, hitting the just right balance between “encouraging action” and “overbearing preaching” is often the hardest thing to do!) Here it was done with such flair: a finely calibrated mix of seriousness with a touch of biting, sardonic humor that can’t help but to generate admiration among the intended target…even while they are the ones being jabbed at! A great cause, a solemn message, a clear call to action, a new angle of attack, and a subtly devastating delivery. Top notch work from Sweden.
Why I like it:A rolling idea gathers no moss. It’s tempting to look at good work and think that you want to “do some of that”. But it’s not nearly enough to just imitate what is good out there; the only real breakthrough comes from tirelessly pushing things one step further and seeing what happens. Dove did it last week with their “Real Beauty Sketches”, taking a new angle on their campaign and completely revitalizing the conversation. This work from Coke China likewise stands a chance to change the by-now-familiar conversation on friendship and happiness. We are shown lovely images of childhood friends sharing an intimate, happy, bonding moment on China’s streets…and oh, by the way…10 minutes before the images were taken these people had never met! Oh…Ok then. Wow..! You think you know what’s coming, and then “smack”, here’s something new to think about! Which you do, as the video plays on…. “Friends were strangers once” it says. Thus, any stranger…is a potential friend. In this crazy world we live in, there’s something profoundly optimistic in the idea of an inherent, latent goodness between people, one that is often just waiting for the right nudge. This is a message with the potential to make a difference. Not bad for a soft drink!…but then again Coke has earned the right to speak in this way. Congrats to my colleagues at Ogilvy Shanghai, and a big “thank you” to the client for entrusting us with this project!
PS – For the first time, I’m going to ask you for a favor: I’m very proud of this work, and think it’s a message worth sharing. So please, if you like the work, help me to share it with the world. Send the link to friends, post it on social media, watch the other videos (6 in total), do your part to help it spread. All it takes sometimes is a nudge for these messages to take flight. Thank you:)
Why I like it: What draws people to this print ad is the common device that I call “wait! there’s more than here than meets the eye, c’mon, take a closer look!”. It seems like sliced bread…but…not quite…you see, it’s made up of people in the shape of sliced bread…which is odd…so you look a little closer, get drawn in, and before you know it you’ve absorbed the intended message of “All day long”. Very nicely done here, especially since the product benefit isn’t all that exciting. Now, this device may be somewhat popular in the last years (ex: Samsonite’s “Heaven and Hell”) but don’t for one minute think that it’s easy to pull off. The executional style has to be very unique and finely calibrated: enough to “hook” you instantly from afar…yet well crafted enough to keep luring you in slowly, without “breaking the line”. And that’s not enough…you must then deliver the message and link it to the brand! And for this to work, the message, the executional device, and the brand/product must all be interconnected in a credible manner (let’s see: claims it will feed you and keep you going all day long…show the progression of a guy’s day from dawn to dusk in an imaginative way…coming from a food brand…yup! it works!) So you see, this is a really nice ad: quite hard to pull off, which is why you don’t see so many of them, which is why you do notice it when you see it, which is why it’s a really nice ad…
Why I like it: (listen to this with full volume) How important is music in ads? Some say music can be 50%, 70%, even 80% of an ad. Hell, in this case it’s about 90% – I feel like bolting up out of my desk, past the lobby, down the elevators, onto the street, into a cab, and right to the nearest Samsung store:) The product feature is somewhat questionable (only useful with people that have the same phone?). The production vales are quite nice and cinematic, with an energized buildup of tension and a great release. But in the end, the reason I’ll want to keep seeing this ad over and over is the music. And this matters. Same ad, different song – nice enough. With this song – fabulous! If we don’t spend a lot (and I mean a lot) of time going through music track options for our advertising until we get just the right one…we’re probably missing out on huge impact potential. The folks at 72andsunny nailed it on this one.
Why I like it: (watch the ad first) Ooooh! I just love everything about this ad! I love how it grabs you from the first second and then reels you in, making you almost lean progressively closer to the screen until you’re smacked in the face with a completely unexpected (and branded!) payoff. I love the little details…from the mysterious tone, to the playful red socks, to the oddly out-of-place suspenders and hats, to the sophisticated accent on the VO, to the sleek swimming shot, to the hot body, to the strange red button…again, you lean forward with your attention…until…smack! – surprise twist at the end, featuring the brand. So packed with specific choices, so crisp in its messaging, so simple to describe, yet so hard to make..! And I love how it fights back against the tired myth (perpetrated by research companies and lazy agencies/clients) that you need to introduce the brand at the very beginning of an ad for best results. Tell a great story, give the brand a credible central role, and let consumers take it from there. A real treat of an ad to close out the week!
Why I like it: Getting noticed is the first step. Without your consumer’s attention, all the rest of your work is meaningless. That’s why the opposite of good advertising is not bad advertising…it’s mediocre advertising! Even truly awful “bad” advertising stands a better chance of being noticed and somehow sneaking in through the back door of your brain! You see, all the clichés and conventions and best practices that give us the “all-boxes-checked-so-at-least-my-boss-won’t-blame-me” comfort…they are also our worst enemy, very often condemning our work to indifference in the eye of the consumer. Take this tractor ad, for example. They probably couldn’t come up with a “great” ad, so they came up with the very “worst” ad they could think of, and the result is fresh, funny and noticeable. If I worked on this ad, I would feel proud. But if I work for a car brand and my latest ad featured billowing fabric, sullen supermodels, unwinding country roads, dramatic voice-overs, or slow-motion soaring eagles through the snowfall…I would feel the shame of mediocrity. Which path are you going to take?
“Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night”. David Ogilvy
Why I like it: One of the happy surprises in advertising is when you come across a campaign that seems creatively exhausted, and yet suddenly it takes new life and soars. Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” has been around for a long time now, and inevitably some of the recent efforts have lost the incisiveness and freshness the campaign once had. It seemed like there wasn’t much left to mine creatively here, and increasingly the efforts seemed manipulative or over-preachy. And yet to my delight, the super-talented folks at Ogilvy Sao Paulo have pulled this one off flawlessly. They found a completely fresh and interesting angle to bring to life the message of women’s negative self-perceptions. And then they executed the hell out of it: they didn’t get a street artist, they got an FBI-trained forensic artist. They didn’t shoot it in a garage, they shot it in a beautiful loft, they didn’t shoot it in one afternoon, they likely shot for days until they had the perfect footage. And then they launched it with style, with a nice web-site that shows all the videos, the sketches, a message area to encourage dialogue and sharing, etc. In summary, they nailed it using the old formula: “A good story, well told.” So impressive. There are no sure things in advertising, but I’ll be really surprised if this doesn’t pick up a couple of lions at Cannes this year. Parabens, galera!