Ad of the Day – May 29 (Buenos Aires)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: DDB
  • Location: Buenos Aires
  • Client: VW
  • Name: Park Assist
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: A couple of days ago I wrote about this two-tiered approach to print advertising, and here’s another nice example. You hook them with a wonderful visual, but you don’t give it all away. You make the reader work for it…and then you deliver the goods, with clarity and simplicity. It’s a risky approach, and it needs to be executed flawlessly: The hook must really hook, and the payoff has to reward the extra effort. This campaign from Argentina brought a smile to my face. The visual is familiar and yet very interesting in its use of detail, color and shape. And the payoff? I admit to some doubts about the logic behind it…but it closes the loop well enough, (and with admirable restraint and simplicity – being classy counts!). Congrats to the crew at DDB Argentina for pulling this one-off.
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Ad of the Day – May 28 (Mexico City)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Y&R
  • Location: Mexico City
  • Client: Expedia (travel agency)
  • Name: Paris
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Advertising is so hard that you pretty much have to hit all the variables perfectly, and have a little bit of luck too, for it to “work”. And yet, every so often there is as ad which is clearly flawed, but somehow still manages to transcend and deliver the message with impact…I guess these are the exceptions that prove the rule? This film is far from perfect, especially at the end…the twist is a little jarring, the premise a bit difficult to understand, the logic a little strained. And yet…it just, works for me. The storytelling element is so strong, so lovingly shot, and so enhanced through the narration, that it overwhelms our defenses and manages to deliver the message. A missed opportunity…or really well done? Perhaps a bit of both!

Ad of the Day – May 27 (Bogota)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Bogota
  • Client: Ecofill Ink Cartridges
  • Name: What good are C, M, and Y if you don’t have K?
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: In print advertising, one school of thought is that the attention span of a reader is extremely small, so you have to deliver your message immediately and with complete clarity. There’s nothing wrong with this, and most of the time it’s a very safe and smart bet. But the key is that you still need to hook them with something interesting – and yet most ads sacrifice interest for clarity, and everybody ends up losing. Every so often you see an ad that takes a different path: a risky two-tiered approach. The first stage is all “hook”, a visual puzzle that catches your eye and brings you forward for a closer look, where…after a bit of effort, the second layer of meaning/message is revealed, often with a twist. It’s a departure from the safe/direct approach, but it’s very rewarding when it works, as in the case for this campaign. The hook does its job, the visual reveal is delightful, and the message makes perfect sense and connects to the brand offering. Wonderfully done. Congrats to my colleagues in Ogilvy Colombia for this one!

* Long form copy ads are the old-school equivalent to this two tiered approach. The art direction brings you in, but you need to invest in reading the copy to get the full effect. Today this has increasingly gone out of style for a visually driven approach.

Ad of the Day – May 22 (London)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: VCCP
  • Location: London
  • Client: O2 (an arena in London)
  • Name: Conquer the summit of London
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: Of all the tools in a creative’s toolkit, one not commonly mentioned is beauty. Perhaps because it’s difficult to quantify or describe – it’s the type of thing you know when you see it. These days much of design involves intricate CGI that can render mind-blowing images and effects. But for my money, there’s nothing like the classic, retro look. It’s not only beautiful but quite disruptive because of how different it is visually. I lack the training to describe it, but everything in these print ads works wonderfully to communicate the message with class, clarity and distinction: from the lines, to the colors, typography, to the dynamism of the layout, angling of the lines, and overlapping shapes…it just works. If an ad is beautiful enough that it could go up on your wall, that’s a very good thing. These easily pass the test.

Ad of the Day – May 21 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Les Gaulois
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Hop! (airline)
  • Name: A not so ordinary call
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: People say they don’t like to be manipulated by advertising. But it’s not quite true. Nobody likes to be manipulated roughly, or crudely, or unfairly. It’s an awful feeling when an ad wrenches something away from you brusquely (ie your emotions) without giving anything back in return, or without any sense or reason. But if it’s done with class, with a deft touch, if I get something back in exchange for my emotions, if the brand has a relevant place in the midst of all of this…then by all means, please go ahead and manipulate! Who after all doesn’t like to be made to feel something? I loved this video. You can see where it’s headed very soon. And it takes its time in getting there, perhaps a bit too long. And yet, the payoff is joyous, genuine, and affecting. And critically, the brand’s message and role is completely credible and compelling. And thus a perfect circle is closed: I receive a joyous emotional release and the brand gets my attention and appreciation. Three minutes well spent, all around!

Ad of the Day – May 20 (Denver)

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View all the designs and read all the stories by clicking here or going to http://cultivatingthought.com/

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: N/A
  • Location: Denver
  • Client: Chipotle
  • Name: Cultivating Thought
  • Category: Product Design
  • Why I like it: Sometimes I come across a piece so amazing that I can barely write about it, so stunned am I by a mixture of awe and jealousy. This is one of those. It’s brand building at a high level: high relevance (people like to look at something while they’re having a quick lunch on their own,) high value (the write ups are fantastic, and done by famous/talented writers) low cost (completely free to the consumer and low cost to the brand,) loyalty building (it’s linked to purchase and inspires repeated visits) aesthetically pleasing (the design itself is beautiful to look at, and importantly, it’s incredibly simple while managing to make a complex statement about the brand’s character: cultured, contemporary, different, caring. An absolute home run!

Ad of the Day – May 19 (Los Angeles)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: CP+B
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Client: A1 Sauce
  • Name: New Friend Requests
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: A1 is traditionally known as a sauce for flavoring beef. So the marketing objective is no suprise here (probably some dull marketing-speak like “expand frequency by increasing NBSOM – non-beef share of mouth”) The brief is where things start to get interesting (probably something like “A1 thinks it’s time we see other foods”, or “Dear steak: it’s not you, it’s me”) And the idea and execution is where this really flourishes. A wonderful mix of technology, medium, popular relevance, and humor, to create a perfect piece of web content: it entertains while at the same time conveying the brand message with complete clarity. Proving yet again that fantastic work can indeed be mined in any category, in any product, and for any budget.

Ad of the Day – May 16 (Beijing)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: http://www.ogilvy.com/
  • Location: Beijing
  • Client: Coca-Cola Vietnam
  • Name: Coca-Cola 2nd Lives
  • Category: Product design/Promotion
  • Why I like it: Ah yes: the joy coming across an idea that is simple, obvious, and yet surprisingly fresh! (It’s the type of idea that someone could/should have done decades ago, and yet it remained hidden, undiscovered, until now.) I mean…really…what IF empty Coke bottles were never thrown away? Far from being a one-off stunt that shines bright and fades fast, this one is built with iron-clad good sense and will surely spread. And why not? Let’s encourage little moments of carefree happiness, encourage an awareness on sustainability, and (yes of course) encourage brand preference. Everybody wins!: the consumer, the environment, and the advertiser. This kind of triple win scenario is rare – congratulations to my colleagues in Beijing and Shanghai for overcoming countless obstacles to pull this one off!

Ad of the Day – May 15 (Hamburg)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Jung von Matt/Alster
  • Location: Hamburg
  • Client: Hanseatisches Wein und Sekt Kontor & Pommery Champagne
  • Name: The revenge of the champagne
  • Category: Ambient/Event
  • Why I like it: So simple, and yet so fantastic. This sounds like an idea that got tossed around in a creative brainstorm at 11pm, over a couple of beers. Instead of tossing it in the bin, they took it and went for it, and went for it big. The result is not going to change the world…but it’s a fun, engaging, memorable celebration, unlike so many thousands of events that take place every week. And let’s be honest, at a time when so many serious topics are being tackled, it’s a nice diversion to also take a moment to address the more nonsensical side of life.

Ad of the Day – May 14 (Rio de Janeiro)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Rio de Janeiro
  • Client: Sol de Janeiro (sunscreen brand)
  • Name: Tattoo artists against skin cancer
  • Category: Public Service/Film
  • Why I like it: Look closely at this video and you’ll get a mini-masterclass on how to expertly package a creative idea. Start with an underdog product/brand that likely has a tiny budget. Big campaigns are out, so they arm themselves with courage and take a leap of faith to do something different, much less safe than your standard “key visual”. Then, look for an idea that connects to relevant cultural truth. In this case the beach-worshipping, sun-loving culture of Brazil youth. Please select an idea that has some edge…some unconventional sexiness that makes it interesting and different. A skin care cancer prevention film could be all about doctors and microscopes and cellular diagrams…this one is all about bad-ass tattoo artists sporting serious ink and a healthy dose of attitude. And finally, execute the hell out of it. In this point my Brazilian colleagues at Ogilvy are at the top of the game. The sexy images jolted by the introduction of the word “cancer”, the pacing, the music, the introduction of the idea through the credible voice of a newscaster, the slo-mo panning shot of the artists, the buildup of emotion,  the personal payoff, the subtle sharing of results that matter, the call to action…every single detail is polished for maximum effect – easy to see, but very hard to do when you’ve got 40 hours of footage to edit. Good stuff. Parabens, galera!