World Cup Special Edition – the best ads!



Cannes who? Today, June 12, the world only cares about once thing. the 2014 World Cup finally kicks off, after a long 4 year wait.

It’s a truly global celebration, and marketers/agencies have hopped on the bandwagon, producing work that runs the full range: from global to local, from inspired to clichéd, from amazing to decidedly mediocre.

In commemoration of this momentous event, I’ll share with you below the best World Cup themed ads that I’ve come across this year, along with my choice for “best ever”. Enjoy. And…vamos Argentina carajo!

1. Beats by Dre – “The Game Before the Game”: Wonderful storytelling, taking a different angle (pre-game rituals), taking its time, and sidestepping the clichés to get to real emotion.

2. GoPro – “Brasil Futebol – for the Love”: So many brands tried and failed to capture the essence of Brazil’s relationship with football. GoPro nails it, while expertly selling the product benefit. Maybe it’s the proximity of the shooting, or the inspiration of the director, or maybe they just got lucky. But I loved this one.

3. Quilmes – “Vamos Carajo!”: This one, through its repeated “c’mon dammit!” refrain, best captures the complex set of emotions of the soccer fan when the ball starts rolling. Four years of anticipation, hopes, fears, joys and doubts. And when the referee blows the whistle, what do 40 million Argentines say? Vamos carajo. Nailed it!

4. Nike – “The Last Game”: The main Nike effort was a disaster, completely missing the mark. But they redeemed themselves with this whimsical, “The Incredibles”-inspired mini-movie. Unbelievable production quality keeps you riveted and totally wins you over.

5. Movistar – “Among the People”: This one is in Spanish, but it’s easy to follow. I loved the unique angle they took. Disguised superstars among the regular people, not for a prank, not for a big reveal, but simply to feel the closeness to the millions that will be cheering for them in the next month. Very different, and very effective.

6. McDonald’s – “Gol!”: This one I thought did the very best job at capturing the childlike joy of playing with a ball. Playful, lighthearted, and even surprising at times, it brings a smile to the face and doesn’t overplay its emotional hand.

7. Banco de Chile – “Chilean Miners”: (turn on the captions for English subtitles) full-fledged nationalistic appeal to overcome tough odds, and damn if it doesn’t give me goosebumps. This is the type of borderline overplay that works gangbusters (if done well – and this can be hard) in local market ads.

My favorite World Cup ad ever? Below, by TyC Sports (a sports channel in Argentina) in advance of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. I still get chills every time I see this – a virtuoso combination of insight,relevance, storytelling, dramatic build, emotional appeal, music, and iconic imagery. Unforgettable. If only Argentina’s teams did as well as their advertising:)

Which one is your favorite? Which ones have I missed (I’m sure there are many.) Let me know in the comments section. Enjoy!

Ad of the Day – June 10 (London)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: White Label
  • Location: London
  • Client: Laphroaig Whisky
  • Name: Opinions Welcome
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: It’s always a wonderful thing when an advertiser has the courage of complete honesty. The unvarnished truth might make some people nervous within the company, but it’s a disruptive surprise in the eye of the consumer. This video is expertly paced, starting off with opinions that sound negative…and then turning that very unique product truth into a unique benefit (or at the very least, it piques your curiosity much more than usual promises of smooth blends, silky feels, etc.) And kudos to the casting job, the people are as unique and interesting as their descriptions…and all of this gets projected onto the product. Wonderful, textured, and rich.

Cannes 2014: Predictions

Cannes is around the corner, with thousands of hopefuls vying to take home a prized Lion. Who will succeed? Well, if you’ve been reading the Ad of the Day during the last year, you’ve actually seen a lot of work that will surely win some metal.
I’ve combed back through the last year of content, and below I share with you my 6 guaranteed(*) winners, plus another long list of work that I think has a strong chance. Enjoy!
(*) Trying to guess Cannes outcome is a fool’s game, as I painfully learned a year ago. But…whatever!
1. OBI home improvement “Renovated Billboards” 
Redefines the boundaries of the outdoor medium, while showing the brand promise in a unique way. (OOH GOLD/Grand Prix) 
2. NewCastle Brown Ale “If We Made It”
Leveraged the insanity of superbowl ad-mania, turned it on its head, and got a ton of attention with little money. Brilliant. (Titanium GOLD/Grand Prix)
To see the entire campaign, go here:
3. Volvo Trucks “The Epic Split”
Dripping sheer brilliance in every glorious second. 72 million views, each one of them utterly deserved. (Film Gold/Grand Prix)
4. Mercedes Benz “Magic Body Control”
Completely unexpectd, and yet completely on target. A convention-buster that stays with you. (Film GOLD)
5. S7 Airlines “Peace Kiev-Moscow”
An amazing convergence of relevance and branded iconography. Captured lightning in a bottle. (OOH GOLD)
6. NZ transport agency
Devastatingly powerful, and strikingly original in a category that has been mined a-plenty (Film GOLD)
FULL LIST OF PROJECTED WINNERS (AMONG PREVIOUS ADS OF THE DAY – click on link to view the piece and the write up)
1. HBO GO (film BRONZE)
2. Sogni d’oro Teas (craft BRONZE)
3. VW Kombi (Titanium SILVER)
4. Lurpak (craft SILVER)
5. Nike (film BRONZE)
6. S7 Airlines (OOH GOLD)
7. Apotek Hair (OOH SILVER)
8. OBI home improvement (OOH GOLD/Grand Prix)
9. Jose Cuervo (Cyber BRONZE)
10. VANS (Branded Content SILVER)
11. NewCastle Brown Ale (film, Titianium GOLD/Grand Prix)
12. The North Face (Branded Content SILVER)
14. Guinness (craft BRONZE)
16. Day’s Inn (Film BRONZE)
17. Selpak tissues (Print BRONZE)
18. Greenpeace (Film BRONZE)
19. Volvo Trucks (Film GOLD/Grand Prix)
21. John Lewis (craft Bronze)
22. Eurostar (Cyber BRONZE)
23. Virgin (Film BRONZE)
25. Corona (Design SILVER)
26. Jack & Jones (Film SILVER)
27. Playstation (Craft BRONZE)
28. Geox (Cyber SILVER)
29. Carrie (Activation BRONZE)
30. Mercedes Benz (Film GOLD)
31. Guinness (Print SILVER)
33. Virgin Mobile (Innovation BRONZE)
34. Volvo Trucks (film BRONZE)
35. Airwaves (Print BRONZE)
36. GoPro (Branded Content BRONZE)
37. Schweppes (Print SILVER)
38. Paris Zoo (Print BRONZE)
39. Chipotle (Design GOLD)
40. Coca-Cola (Product Design GOLD)
41. Coca-Cola (Promo&Activation SILVER)

Ad of the Day – June 5 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Droga5
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Motorola
  • Name: Meet Moto E
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Good creativity is really hard. It helps to have an amazing product, of course. But what if you’re given something that is decidedly mediocre, perhaps even by design? Like an entry level smart phone with entry level specs? Most of the time, this advertising story does not end well. But if you’re really good, and really lucky…creativity can save the day. Look what Droga5 did with this marvelous ad about a non-marvelous phone. They made magic. Made it interesting. Watchable. Shareable, even. And best yet, it made the phone look good, without cheapening it by talking only about the price (a great insight here – entry level users don’t like to be told they’re cheap.) A wonderful coup, but one that comes with a warning: middling product story, putting all the hopes on a creative miracle? Risky bet. Do not try this at home.

It’s not me…it’s you (in 2 parts)


Dear Clients:

It’s not me, it’s you.

Funny…but it’s also painfully, achingly true.

Have a look. Enjoy. Have a chuckle.

And then…please stop it.



Post originally appeared on:

– – – –

Hi God,

Thanks so much for the latest round of work. Really coming together. Few points of feedback:

1 – Really liking the whole light thing but not totally sure about the naming system. “Day” and “night” are OK but we feel like there’s more we can do here. Thoughts? Definitely need to nail this down ASAP.

2 – Re: the “sky”… not really feeling the color here. Would like something that pops more. Please send additional options.

3 – Appreciate the work on the sea and ground, but right now there’s way too much sea. The ground is getting lost in it. In general, sea does not resonate well with our users. Was talking with the team and the idea of having no sea at all came up. Thoughts?

4 – Noticed you’ve covered the ground in vegetation bearing seeds according to their kind and trees bearing fruit according to their kind. Is this intentional? Please advise.

5 – Right now we’re only seeing two great lights in the sky… a greater one for day and a lesser one for night? Thinking that maybe we weren’t clear in the original briefing. Definitely need more than just two great lights. Need to make this a memorable, high-value experience for our users. Please revisit slides thirteen and fourteen in the deck. Shout with questions.

6 – Seas teeming with life is fine, but again, we need to reduce the sea. This is a showstopper for us.

7 – Are the winged birds final, or placeholder? Some kind of weird stuff going on with those. Just want to get some clarification before giving more feedback.

8 – Can we get more livestock and wild animals that move along the ground according to their kinds? Again, the passion points for our target users (slide eighteen) are ground and animals that move along the ground. Whatever we can do to increase the amount of ground will go a long way toward converting our users from passive consumers into brand evangelists.

9 – Re: “mankind.” Interesting take on the brief here. Big pain point is that mankind is coming across as largely made in your image. As you hopefully recall from the deck, our users are a diverse group (slide twenty-seven) and we definitely want to make them feel represented (slide twenty-eight). Afraid that if our users see fleshy bipedal mammals positioned as “ruling over” the ground and sea (if we’re having sea), they might feel alienated and again less willing to convert into brand evangelists. Let’s fast-track an alt version with mankind removed. Doable?

10 – Please cut all the “be fruitful and multiply” stuff. We’re a family brand and this doesn’t fit with our voice (slide thirty-four).

Realize it’s Saturday and you were planning to be OOOtomorrow to admire your creation and everything, but I’m hoping you can keep rolling on this through the weekend. Need to get this in front of my exec team by EOD Monday so hoping to sync up EOD Sunday. Will be around all weekend via email and chat if anything comes up. Looking to you and your team for a big win here.



Dear Agency Colleagues:

It’s not them, it’s us.

Funny…but it’s also painfully, achingly true.

Have a look. Enjoy. Have a chuckle.

And then…let’s please stop it.

Ad of the Day – June 3 (Paris)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!


Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Publicis Conseil
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Paris Zoo
  • Name: Wildlife is back in town
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: I’ve seen quite a few ads for zoos, and they’re normally colorful, high energy, fun and graphically “loud”. Not this one. Leave it to the French to bring in loads of subdued class, in a campaign that is fit to be hung up on a wall. Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that beyond just beauty and class, these ads are perfectly crafted: The visuals are pleasing to the eye while conveying a jarring “twist” that draws you in. The headline is a crisp and clear conveyance of the main message…and the image itself brings to life both of its elements (the city, and the animals). The art direction (including the black and white palette and loads of white space) contribute to the dignified, Parisian look. A real gem of an idea, masterfully executed.

Ad of the Day – June 4 (Mexico City)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Mexico City
  • Client: Casa de la Amistad (youth cancer support services)
  • Name: Hairfest
  • Category: Ambient
  • Why I like it: Cannes is right around the corner, so this is the time of year where you see an outpouring of public service initiatives that use the force of creativity for a good cause. It has become challenging to stand out in this area due to the sheer numbers; and the questionable nature/execution of some of these ideas has opened the door to cynics and “haters”. So it’s a wonderful thing when an idea like this one gets made. It’s unassailable. It just…makes sense, right from the very start. I love how they hit the right tone in the first line: it’s not a solution, or a cure, it’s just “…a nice way to help,” and who can dispute that? The idea itself is brilliant, and the way it’s executed is uplifting. One of those “everybody wins” scenarios that is fresh, fun, and brand-relevant. It left me with a smile on my face, and for that, a big “rock on!” to my colleagues in Ogilvy Mexico.
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