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 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: 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.

Ad of the Day: December 11 (Wellington)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Clemenger BBDO
  • Location: Wellington
  • Client: New Zealand Transport Agency
  • Name: Local Legends
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Engaging storytelling, with a purpose. It’s simple as that. The characters here are so richly painted, so quickly…it’s as if there is a full, real universe happening around these people, and we just happened to get a peek at a 2 minute sliver of it. It hooks you from the beginning, and it delivers the message with exactly the proper tone. By the way, anti-drunk driving might sound like an easy assignment, but when you get into it I’m sure you’ll find that it has been already done a million different ways, and most of them flop. And yet this client/agency combo has been doing exceptional work for the last few years (look them up,) always hitting the right tone in a fresh and different manner. Pretty amazing. 

Ad of the Day: December 10 (London)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: adam&eveDDB
  • Location: London
  • Client: Maille Mustard
  • Name: Be a memorable guest
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: When all else fails, be funny. Make people laugh. In the ad above, the brand/product integration is almost non-existent, and comes in only at the very end. At that point, you could plug 100 products at the end of that scene and the ad would still work. Normally this is a recipe for a disastrous recall, and an inefficient ad. And yet…this ad is hilarious. The laughter comes, the brain opens up, we lean forward towards the TV, and (shockingly) we subconsciously seek out and take in the advertiser that shared this chuckle with us, as a sort of retroactive gratitude. And thus somehow, implausibly, it works. It’s a high risk maneuver, and you shouldn’t make it a habit – but when all else fails…

Ad of the Day: December 9 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Weightwatchers
  • Name: If you’re happy
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: People’s relationship with food and weight loss can be quite emotional and complex – it’s a potential minefield for advertisers. So if you’re a brand selling a weight loss system, the way to do it is to skirt around the issue. Metaphors are good, because they say without directly saying. Also perhaps humor, to disarm and make palatable the tricky parts. You can even make use of visual cliches that have become widely accepted. You could do that. OR…if you’re courageous…if you’re really good…you can dive right into the middle of the cultural tension, as they do here. Call it out clearly, dive into it, and revel in it. It’s not easy, and it’s bound to raise some level of controversy. But it’s the definition of disruptive, and by being so it gives the brand a stage, not to mention a leadership aura. Hard to say how it will turn out, but I hope their courage is rewarded.