Ad of the Day: November 18 (Shanghai)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Factory Design Labs
  • Location: Shanghai
  • Client: The North Face
  • Name: Never one place, always one jacket
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: In “advertising dreamland” every brief would focused on one simple-yet-compelling benefit, and every ad would tell this story in a deeply emotional way. In the real world, brands often have complementary and overlapping messages to convey: whether it be a product benefit, a reason-to-believe, an emotional payoff, or even a brand positioning. Suddenly the odds suddenly are against you achieving greatness. But there are always two wild-cards that can still be played. One is talent: employing truly talented people (this could be a creative, a director, a producer, etc.) with a disruptive vision for how to make your film stand out and be special. The other is courage: having the courage to really let go, to trust those people to deliver their vision, even when it feels risky, or uncomfortable, or when it’s hard to see how it’s all going to come together. Here’s a film for The NorthFace, wanting to plug two different lines of outerwear (with demos, please!) along with a higher-level statement about exploration and adventure within the city and out in the wild. The way this puzzle was solved through inspired creative execution is a nice example of how unleashing talent can still get you there, when all else fails.

 

 

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Ad of the Day – September 3 (Shanghai)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: TBWA
  • Location: Shanghai
  • Client: Adidas
  • Name: #thisisme
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: A declarative, slightly subversive explosion of color, attitude and urban cool. Very bold. There are three elements at play: The crafting is a visual feast of styling, casting, lighting, direction, etc. It’s visually very arresting, enough that on its own they would have made a decent ad. But then you have the minimalist, in-your-face manifesto-style copy, which makes the visuals so much more interesting, turning what could have been a been a “music video” into an interesting 30 second brand declaration. Finally, this is one of those ads where you can see the strategy play out on the screen. For China, this is a bold (if not entirely original) strategy. “I am different, I am me, deal with it.” And bold is always better than giving in to the gravitational pull of generic. Kudos to the folks at TBWA and Adidas for picking a spot far outside the box, and then delivering on it with style and flair.

    PS – Creativity aside, what is interesting to me about this ad is that I think it will play better outside of China (where it builds a plausible myth of an edgy, hip, highly stylized emerging urban China) than in China itself (where the images onscreen are so incredibly niche – much more so than in the west – that they could struggle to gain traction or even be aspirational.) A daring bet by Adidas China.

Ad of the Day – May 16 (Beijing)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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 – March 10 (Shanghai)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: TBWA
  • Location: Shanghai
  • Client: Adidas
  • Name: TGIF
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: At first this ad may seem a cool, uplifting ad, and not much more. But because it’s made in China, it’s actually quite significant. It’s one of those big early drops in what someday will become a rain-shower of Chinese creativity in advertising. Modern, vibrant, crisp, aspirational. With universal appeal…and yet decidedly and proudly Chinese. It’s the type of ad that I personally hold as a model of what China can and should be doing. Will it work in China? That’s the key question. If it does, it will be another step down the path. If it doesn’t, it’s back to the drawing board. We shall see…but I hope it works and we see more of this. World-class, locally relevant Chinese creativity (in advertising) will be a reality…the question is how soon, and in what form?

Ad of the Day – May 6 (Shanghai)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Click image to enlarge22.04 Cannes Crops

01Born Beautiful-Nose_NoTrans Born Beautiful-A-cup

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Shanghai
  • Client: Dove
  • Name: “Born Beautiful”
  • Category: Print/Online
  • Translation (in order of appearance):

“I am a girl who is yet to join the world. If I grow up to weigh 70kg or more, will you still welcome me?”

“I am a girl who has not yet been born. If I grow up to have a flat nose, will you still embrace me?”

“I am a girl who is yet to breathe. If I grow up with A cup breasts, will you tease me?”

Why I like it: Wow. Many print campaigns stand out for their striking simplicity. Others stand out for their rich, textured visuals. A minority hooks us with a very original approach that we haven’t seen before. And fewer still manage to connect those visuals with a message that is emotional, relevant, and branded. So let’s enjoy this campaign by Ogilvy Shanghai, because it’s a rare, lofty accomplishment that combines all the elements of great print advertising. An original visual idea, featuring beautiful Chinese calligraphy artfully applied to an unconventional “canvas”. Supreme craft, (notice the lighting, the contrast, the texture of the paint against the skin, the grace with which the body is shot.) Add to it an inspiring and thought-provoking message, based on the insight that we are generous with praise for little babies and kids, but far too quick to criticize and judge women for their physical appearance as they grow older. And finally, the delicate balance of conveying a universal message yet delivering it a uniquely Chinese manner. These lovely print ads (and its accompanying online campaign) once again showcase China’s growing ability to produce world-class work for world-class brands. Congratulations to the super-talented team at Ogilvy Shanghai that fought hard to make this happen!

Ad of the Day – April 24 (Shanghai)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Shanghai
  • Client: Coca-Cola
  • Name: “Friendship Experiment”
  • Category: Photo exhibition/ Web Film
  • Photo Gallery: www.friendshipexperiment.com

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:)

Ad of the Day – March 12 (Beijing)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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rhino_aotw dodo_aotw

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Linksus
  • Location: Beijing
  • Client: World Wildlife Fund
  • Name: “Last Words”
  • Category: Print

Why I like it: It’s a cold, cynical world out there, especially at this time of the year. You might be immune by now at the proliferation of well-meaning appeals to curb disease, save animals, protect the environment, stop drunk driving, curb texting-while-driving, prevent abuse, etc. You might be surprised at the vast global “media budgets” seemingly commanded by Lego, Scrabble, Pictionary, Mattel, Amnesty International, PETA, WWF, and a few other ubiquitous brands. You may be puzzled at the exquisite English copywriting in ads from countries where English is not the main language…Stop it. Let’s set this all of aside for a moment, and appreciate what makes the above ads beautiful: The idea is fresh. The art direction is textured, vintage, and almost nostalgic, like an old Hemingway paperback, or the adventure journal of a 19th century explorer. And the copy is simply…elegant. Evocative, nuanced…just a joy to savor slowly. A print ad that has an important message, presented in a manner which is a joy to look at, and written in a way that is absorbing and powerful. Sure, it’s ok to be cynical. But don’t let that cloud your enjoyment of ads such as these.

Ad of the Day – December 24 (Shanghai)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

CokeSanta final CokeSanta 4

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Shanghai
  • Client: Coca-Cola
  • Name: “CokeSanta”
  • Category: OOH

Why I like it: Just in time for Christmas, this is running in Manila. I love the iconic simplicity, it’s almost amazing that it hasn’t been done before. I wish you all some very happy holidays, and a lovely new year! Back on January 7.


Ad of the Day – October 17 (Hangzhou)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

(click image to see large size)

 

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BC&T
  • Location: Hangzhou, China
  • Client: Yangyuanqing (shampoo)
  • Name: “Shampoo for Itchy Scalp”
  • Category: Print/OOH

Why I like it: It’s very visually interesting (see it large), it very clearly communicates the consumer problem/need, it provokes a visceral reaction, it’s quite unique and original in a category where we feel we’ve seen “white flakes on shoulders” done a million times. What else can you ask for from a print ad, apart from perhaps a little more brand linkage? It’s very typical of Chinese advertising in the way they focus on a very functional message with complete clarity. This can be understood just as easily by a remote village dweller as by a Shanghai high-rise resident…and in China this matters a lot. And to their credit, the message is simple but the art direction is elegant and well executed. Nicely done by my “neighbors” in Hangzhou!

Ad of the Day – September 12 (Shanghai!)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Click here to play

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy & Mather
  • Location: Shanghai
  • Client: Eclairs (a Cadbury candy)
  • Name: “The Art of Anticipation”
  • Category: Film
  • Translation: (If you don’t understand Chinese it won’t make any sense unless you read this first…)

NEON SUPERS MARKING THE “STEPS”
Get ready
Swirl it
Wait it
Bite it
VOICEOVER
Choclairs, three steps to enjoy an Eclair.
Swirl it gently wait for the toffee to slowly melt…
rich chocolate sauce bursting out..mmmm
Eclairs Toffee candy – enjoy the delicious anticipation
LYRICS TO SOUNDTRACK, ACCOMPANYING THE ACTION
Hold it
Swirl it
Love it
Dream it
Want it
Anticipate it
Slow it slow it
Hold it
Swirl it
Love it
Dream it
Want it…Wait it…wait it…
Bite it love it!!
Bite it love it!!

Why I like it: The last time I shared a piece from Ogilvy Shanghai, it went on to win the Cannes OOH Grand Prix:)This one may not win any outdoor awards, but I’m very proud to present to you the latest work we’ve done for Cadbury’s Eclairs. Like many good ads, this one perfectly interconnects the rational and the artistic, so as to draw the viewer in and keep them there long enough to deliver a message strongly linked to your brand: On one side, it’s hard to be more product centric than this ad, as it’s basically an instructional video for how to best enjoy eating this candy, one key step at a time. On the other hand, stylistically this is such a breakthrough approach for a category filled with cliches of romantic indulgence and escape – we’ve got these cheeky techno-girls warming up their tongues and shaking their hips to a techno track that’s sure to stick in your mind. It’s modern, young, filled with attitude, campaignable, and completely connected to the product experience. Often I speculate about how the development process must have been on this ad or that…on this one I know for sure – and I can promise you that there was a lot of risk taking, courage and leaps of faith on both the client and agency sides. It’s the only way to end up with anything worthwhile!