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: 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: October 28 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: N/A
  • Location: New York
  • Client: NYC & Company
  • Name: See Your City
  • Category: Print/OOH
  • Why I like it: Another wonderful example of the “if a print ad looks so amazing that you would happily frame it and hang it in your living room wall…that’s a good thing” rule. This series of ads mix charming layouts with playful copy, and the result is a poster that lures you in and gets the point across effectively. And notice that the vintage look gives it a touch of class without sacrificing modern trappings like urls and multiple logos. Crisp, colorful, and extremely well done.

 

Ad of the Day: October 24 (Istanbul)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Smart - Oct 24

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Alice BBDO
  • Location: Istanbul
  • Client: Smart Car
  • Name: Be lucky, be Smart
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: This charming ad for a little care manages to get the little details just right. The art direction, the use of color, the unspoken narrative, and so much more. The resulting effect is brilliant: you’re jolted into attention, then very cleverly (and not by accident!) your eye is taken from top left, to the middle, to the car, to the tagline on the bottom right, and then back to the middle. You do so with full attention, and at each step your brain uncovers an extra part of the “narrative/puzzle”, until it all comes together in a satisfying “aha” moment. It’s a risky approach (most print ads put the gag right in your face, this one takes a chance and visually lays out a path to be followed – if any little detail is off…the thread is broken.) But with risk comes reward, and I think they really nailed it.

 

Ad of the Day: October 15 (Istanbul)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BBDO
  • Location: Istanbul
  • Client: Arzum Cleanart (vacuum cleaner)
  • Name: Coin, Card
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: Interesting to imagine how this ad evolved: from a product claim “powerful vacuum action”; to an advertising claim “reaches places never reached before”; to an idea “showcase the ‘relics’ one would unearth if reaching places that haven’t been reached before”; to the idea brought to life visually via an interesting image that focuses the eye on what matters; to a nice layout that gives proper due to the claim and the product. In between each of these steps is a little moment of creative “magic”…without it you have a standard boring ad, with it you have something that works. We’re always chasing the little bits of magic!

 

Ad of the Day – September 10 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: mcgarrybowen
  • Location: London
  • Client: Sarson’s Malt Vinegar
  • Name: Perfume, Pint, Bath
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: Rule one is to stand out from the crowd, and the lovingly-crafted vintage look of this campaign certainly delivers (I’m a sucker for the “vintage” look.) Delivering the benefit then becomes a must, and these ads make it clear that Sarson’s is a key ingredients for enjoying fish and chips. Most ads don’t even make it this far…and yet this campaign takes it one step further: the idea about a romantic affair between the fish and the chip adds a sparkling twist, which they really go for in the “perfume” ad – the intimacy between fish and chip (with the brand in between) is as endearing as it is ridiculous. And that’s why it works. Slightly odd, totally cool.

Ad of the Day – September 10 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: n/a
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Corcoran (real estate company)
  • Name: #livewhoyouare
  • Category: Print
  • Why I like it: Most people (including myself) lack the technical training to describe why this series of ads just feels so…right. There’s clearly some amazing celebrity photography at play (shot by Annie Leibovitz, no less,) but also lovely writing and some really balanced art direction that organizes the information into sensible bits without overwhelming the visual. There are probably dozens of other components adding to the overall effect, and yet the beauty is that they are rendered invisible because they are so effective. Everything just clicks together in the mind like a puzzle, and one’s attention is captured and guided willingly as the message is delivered. If only it weren’t so hard to make it look so simple!

Ad of the Day – June 3 (Paris)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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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 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.

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.