The Last Ad of the Day, part 1 of 2: February 27 (London)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

As of tomorrow, Ad of the Day will be taking a leave of absence. It will re-emerge at some point in the future: still focused on celebrating great creativity from around the world, but with a different format, focus and scope. For more on this, and learnings gathered in the last three and a half years, click here for Part 2.

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: McCann
  • Location: London
  • Client: Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
  • Name: Buy them a delegate pass
  • Category: Print/OOH
  • Why I like it: I’m in awe of this series of print ads. It’s the disease of our industry and its cure, all rolled into one. This campaign is quite narrowly targeted, and it’s not going to change the world…but it’s so enjoyable and packs so many of the ingredients of superior work. Let’s count some of them: a) wonderful art direction: the colors, the styling, the casting, the expressions, the way the copy box “hangs” on the people…impossible to miss and so nicely crafted. b) rich insight: shining a light on the hypocrisy and lack of ambition in our industry is bold and incredibly impactful, because it comes from a deep truth. We all know these folks, some of us have even been these folks. Nothing as powerful as a carefully placed mirror into one’s soul. c) inspired writing: just the right dash of truthful aggression, delivered with humor, poignancy and a hopeful/tongue-in-cheek call to action. Marvelous. d) knowledge of your audience: nothing wrong with being niche if you fully invest in the specificity. It’s a thought-provoking, timely challenge to agencies as they start planning for Cannes. e) humor: so hard to make funny work. But when it works it’s a joy – in this case with the right mix of snarky and cheery. f) business sense: it has to link back to the brand/benefit, otherwise it’s just babble. And the message that Cannes can be the antidote with a good “return on creativity” is a good one. In conclusion: a great set of print ads, that manages to be funny and deep at the same time. Sign me up!
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Ad of the Day: February 6 (Reykjavik)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Quiver
  • Location: Reykjavik
  • Client: Adalskodun Auto Inspections
  • Name: The Cliff
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: It’s amazing how irresistible a good story is. People often refer to advertising as an intrusion, but really they’re just talking about bad or mediocre advertising. Good advertising, as rare as it is, is enormously interesting and magnetic. The little details in this one (the casting, the music, the type of car, the sandwich, the window handle, the cinematic references) make this an enjoyable minute of anyone’s time, even overcoming the fact that it’s all quite predictable. And because  the connection to the brand is credible and woven it at the right time, the whole thing connects. Nicely done, and congrats to our first selection ever from Iceland!

Ad of the Day: February 4 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Publicis
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Vicks Nyquil
  • Name: Dave & Amanda
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: For those still feeling the hangover from the extravaganza that is Super Bowl advertising, here is an antidote. A couple of short and sweet 15 second ads that distill a commercial down to its very TV essence. How to get there? You find an truthful, relevant insight about a product (real life doesn’t allow you to be slowed down by a cold) and you turn it into an interesting, catchy creative idea (“Dads/Moms don’t take sick days”.) You then build a clever hook that disarms you and brings you in (the boss/child misdirection) and bam! you deliver the message to a receptive audience. In and out in less than 15 seconds. The hardest thing to do in advertising is to make this look so easy. Wonderful job.

Ad of the Day: January 30 (London)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Click here to go to the web site

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: N/A (Produced by Unit9)
  • Location: London
  • Client: Casio G-Shock
  • Name: Five Minutes
  • Category: Interactive Film
  • Why I like it: Is it advertising? Well let’s see: There is a story being told. There are multiple elements which grab your interest and keep you engaged. The product/ brand plays a central role in the action. It leaves you with a good feeling for the brand, and a sense that your time and attention were not wasted. Sure sounds like advertising to me, and of the good kind! The fact that the experience feels like a cross between a video game and a movie is just proof that innovation is the lifeblood our industry, and we have more outlets than ever to reach consumers with great ideas that sell.

Ad of the Day: January 28 (London)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: adam&eveDDB
  • Location: London
  • Client: Virgin Airlines
  • Name: Let it fly
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Hook them in quickly, build entertaining momentum to draw them in further, and deliver your line during the climax, which will have your brand seamlessly woven into it. Somewhat easy to describe, hard as hell to pull it off. But they sure do here. I love the line “life doesn’t come to you, so go to it.” It’s such a perfect call to action: it feels real, it’s inspiring, and it brings to life the role of the brand in a very credible way. But you can’t just toss it out there and hope people care. That’s where the entertainment comes in. From the music, to the pace, to the humor and more, everything about the first minute has you leaning in all the way into the punchline. Expertly done. 

Ad of the Day: January 27 (Sydney)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Host
  • Location: Sydney
  • Client: Pizza Hut
  • Name: Mitey Stuffed Crust
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: A round of applause for this ad, exhibiting courage with a capital C. Sure, the notion of vegemite being an acquired taste is nothing new, advertising has been riffing off of that for ages. If you were the brand manager you would allow yourself to have a lot of fun with that, push the envelope, right? Wrong. If you’re like 99% of people out there, you wouldn’t. It takes a special breed of crazy courage to say that your product is awful, tastes like shit, and more…all in your own ad. It’s downright unusual. And yet, it’s that very hyper-genuine approach that, handled properly, is irresistible to a younger target. A startling honesty which becomes the hook that draws you close. Join that up seamlessly with a little national pride to boot, and the result is a disruptive, entertaining little film that will make a dent. More of this, please!

 

Ad of the Day: January 26 (Stockholm)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: M&C Saatchi
  • Location: Stockholm
  • Client: Norwegian Airlines
  • Name: The Flag of Flags
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: If I were in the team that came up with this and we actually got it to run exactly as featured…that’s a “drop the mike” moment right there. Just pack it up and walk away in victory, because you’re not going to capture lightning in a bottle like this for a long time. The idea of flags within flags is not new, granted. But in the real world – you don’t have a norwegian airline company as a client, so the Norwegian flag won’t work. In the real world, the airline company doesn’t actually offer travel to Bangkok, or Poland, so you lose the ability to make that connection. In the real world, there is no media budget to run a double page spread, so you have to do it in a vertical format and it doesn’t work. In the real world…there are so many other reasons why brilliant little executions like this one never see the light of day. So when, against all odds, they DO see the light of day…it’s something worth celebrating.

 

Ad of the Day: December 22 (Los Angeles)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: N/A
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Client: 20th Century Fox
  • Name: A Particular Set of Skills
  • Category: online/social media contest
  • Why I like it: Watch the video first. If you enjoy seeing Liam Neeson kick ass in the “Taken” move series, then you’ll enjoy this contest announcement. Then take a moment to appreciate the sheer brilliance of this marketing action. It lives at the precise intersection of advertiser, co-sponsor, target and medium – delivering an interesting and compelling “everybody wins!” that is actually extremely rare in these types of activities. Fox drums up inexpensive awareness of their upcoming release (the value of the prize they’re giving away? $0!) Linkedin is the perfect catalyst for a conversation about “skills” and becomes 1000% more relevant and hip to a younger audience than they were last week. Young professionals are given the chance to win big-time social currency while engaging with fun content, and social media once again is leveraged as both an amplifier and executor of activities, at less cost and offering bigger potential payback than traditional media. A slam dunk.

 

Ad of the Day: December 16 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BBH
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Johnnie Walker
  • Name: The Next Step
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: The magic is in the story…in how it’s told…or in rare cases, in both. I think that achievements in production (the “how it’s told”) are often under-appreciated, made to seem less lofty than breakthrough ideas. But in many ways, ads such as the one above are harder to pull off and require more courage and risk taking than a simple, brilliant idea that sells itself on paper. I mean, how do you present or test this JW ad on a storyboard? You can’t. It’s the type of thing that doesn’t come together…until it comes together at the very end. And that takes guts. The result is lovely to watch, and it elevates a generic idea and makes it stick. Well done to the client/agency/production team that had the courage to see this one through.

Ad of the Day: December 15 (Hamburg)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Jung von Matt
  • Location: Hamburg
  • Client: Vodafone
  • Name: Bucket List (“what would you do if you could do anything?”)
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Ah, the bucket list. It sounds so incredibly generic, and yet this film works so well. What sets it off on solid ground is the “show me don’t tell me” rule. We see the multiple benefits in action: some subtle, some overt, but all very real and within an engaging flow that keeps your attention. With a few notable exceptions, showing (in an interesting way) always works better than telling. And then comes the magic…those touches that set this ad apart. From the music, to the editing, to the wonderful casting and acting (the bulbous nose on the grandpa – wow!): these are all the elements that will never show up in a storyboard or an animatic, but can be brought to life through trust, courage and talent during the production process. A lovely little film from Germany to start the week.