Ad of the Day – September 23 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BETC
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Canal+ Football
  • Name: Cameramen
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: “Such and such sports channel puts you at the heart of the action.” How many times have we heard this claim? If the claim is going to be the same, the only way to stand out is to go for broke, as they do here. The idea is a simple visual gag (the cameramen on the field,)…but then they keep raising the ante, and don’t stop until it’s way over the top. It’s a fine line, but it works: it gets noticed, it brings a smile, it bears repeat viewing, it’s very single-minded, and best of all, it crisply communicate the benefit. A winner.

Ad of the Day – September 12 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Rosaparks
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Brother p-Touch
  • Name: Next time label it
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Say you want to put out a good, memorable ad for your product. All you have to do is budget, concept, strategize, validate, brief, create, tissue-session, present, sell-in, adjust, prepare stimulus, research, adjust, approve, bid, produce, re-adjust, media plan, finalize, traffic and release. And then you hope for the best, because there are no guarantees. Or you could just wing it. I don’t recommend it because the odds of success become scary-low, but if you’re going to wing it, my advice is “be funny.” Funny is really, really hard to do, but when it works, it works almost better than anything else. Everyone loves a chuckle. In this particular case, it’s a series of chuckles, all in the service of illustrating a very simple product benefit. You get in, you make people laugh, you deliver the message, and you get out. When it works, it really works!

Ad of the Day – June 3 (Paris)

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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 – 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 – March 31 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Proximity BBDO
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Carte Noir (coffee)
  • Name: Rose
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Food porn at its best! There is a hypnotic quality to this film, the way it’s shot, the music, the progression from ingredient to finished product…once you start watching, it’s hard to stop. Indeed, this one features the three components of strong web content: It has some “replayability” (it’s an easy watch, and well executed enough that it bears watching more than once), “sharability” (who doesn’t love a great food video? This can be shared with anyone from your grandmother to your neighbor) and “brandability” (the role of the brand is nicely woven in – very much present but not overwhelming the whole.) A delicious start to the week!

Bonus content: If you enjoyed the one above, what the other videos in the color-inspired series (“rouge”, “vert”, “jaune”) by clicking here

 

Ad of the Day – February 26 (Los Angeles)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BETC
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Disneyland Paris
  • Name: Big yet Small
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: For those times when you think it’s all about creative spark, or production wizardry…here’s a great example of compelling work that is very strategy/insight driven. You start with a very defined business problem that needs to be solved (families visit Disneyland when their kids are little, but later stop coming because they feel the kids have outgrown it, probably in the 10-14 year old range.) You then develop a strategy focusing on that “tweener” age group, via a very sharp insight (they may seem big, but they’re still young at heart…there is still time to enjoy these magical moments while they last!) That last part is key, and very compelling. All parents in the target group will instantly recognize it as being true. After this has been sold in…the ad practically writes itself. Simple and sweet.

Ad of the Day – February 19 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BETC
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Lacoste
  • Name: The Big Leap
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: It’s a very pretty ad to take in, and it has a certain retro cinematic feel that stands out in today’s aesthetic. The core idea is one that everyone can relate to (the nerve-wracking moment when you decide to “go for it”,) and it’s brought to life with drama, cool special effects, fantastic music, great pacing, and a lot of chemistry between the actors. Only a weak role of the brand keeps this from being truly special as an ad – but as a piece of film it’s 60 seconds very well spent.

Ad of the Day – January 23 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BEING
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Schneider Electric
  • Name: Blow a Fuse
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: If you happen to have a temperamental teenage son, this ad will be sweet glory: a sort of harmless, karmic payback. Watch it and you’ll know what I mean. Even if you don’t, it’s hard not to crack a smile. This one is a boring category (home automation app) elevated by a clever idea, and made to soar by flawless execution. The way the boy descends into utter despair…while still latching onto thin hope every time the power comes back on…the operatic track and the slo-motion camera to heighten the drama…the little details like the way he gingerly puts down what he was about to smash a few seconds before…the introduction of the product at the right time, and in the right context to illustrate the features…it all adds up to a magical ad.

Bonus content: If you liked the one above, you’ll like the other ad in this series. It’s hard to do humor right, and so rare to see two ads in a campaign completely nail it (albeit in a different way) The expressions on the boy’s face are priceless.

Ad of the Day – July 3 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: DDB
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: National Geographic
  • Name: Sandstorm
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Despite all the eye-popping breakthroughs of today’s audiovisual technology, we are often reminded that simple, old-fashioned, analog nature is a thing of unique wonder and fearsome power. And when you’re given a brief to sell a “product” as unique as nature itself, sometimes there’s no need to elevate it, or present it in abstract manner, or get very technical, or innovative, or fancy…just show it. That’s how special it is…just show it. It’s great that the creative team behind this was able to recognize that less can indeed be more. The clever writing is a nice complement and gives the ad texture, but really from the initial shot of the sandstorm, the viewer is hooked. A gripping start, great images and writing to sustain the attention, and the point is driven home decisively as our brave cameraman stumbles around  in the storm. Elegant, understated, but very powerful. Just like the product.

Cannes Bronze Film Lion winner

Ad of the Day – June 11 (Paris)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Smarter Cities OOH 3

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: IBM
  • Name: People for smarter cities
  • Category: OOH

Why I like it: Cannes can be such a lottery that making predictions is a fool’s game. But I’m going to be a fool right now and guarantee that this outdoor campaign will pick up at least one Lion next week. There’s too much that is awesome about it for it to go unnoticed…it’s exactly what I think judges will be looking for: A simple, “why didn’t I think of that before!” idea. Credible integration with the brand and its message. A great example of “show, don’t tell” (instead of just talking about IBM being useful to cities…these OOH boards are useful!). Use of media that transcends its normal limitations (this isn’t just a print ad made big.) A fetching case video. A sub-category that may likely has less competition than others. Fantastic work. Advance congratulations to my colleagues in Paris:)