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.
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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 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.

 

Ad of the Day: November 25 (Chicago)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Downtown Partners
  • Location: Chicago
  • Client: Get Covered Illinois (organization urging people to enroll in healthcare coverage)
  • Name: Luck Health Plan. You’ll be ok. Probably.
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Capturing the attention and motivating millenials is the obsession of our time, and there are as many techniques for it as there are agencies and marketers. I love this one from Chicago…which pushes the “self-aware/ironic/tongue-in-cheek” envelope extremely far and succeeds in capturing the attention. (Whether it will succeed in motivating the desired action remains to be seen – but one thing is for sure: if you don’t have their willing attention, you have no chance at all of getting them to act.) What courage it takes to play this card and not give away the punchline at all! If you go to url, you’ll see that the joke continues even in the online space, although finally the reveal comes, once you’re well inclined to act. Really gutsy, risky and fresh…that’s what it takes these days to even have a chance.

 

Ad of the Day: November 20 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Ogilvy
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Tiffany
  • Name: A Tiffany Holiday
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: So lovely…a 60 second demonstration of when everything goes right in our business. Every single choice made helps to elevate this far above the standard branded video: The use of animation gives the film a dreamy quality which is exactly right for the season. The gracefulness of the illustration evokes a timeless, nostalgic sense of romance. Both the brand (through the color palette) and the products (through clever, non-illustrated inserts) are featured throughout to help drive the action…but neither ever bursts the bubble of emotion that is being created. And the marvelous song choice manages to be cheerful, nostalgic, dreamy, inspiring…all at once. It all adds up to a marvelous, whimsical holiday message that cuts through the seasonal clutter and lives up to the standards of the brand. Huge congratulations to my colleagues in Ogilvy New York!

 

Ad of the Day: November 5 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: New York
  • Client: GAP
  • Name: Mistletoe
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: “Nice” is so comfortable. It’s easier to get approved. Nobody in a focus group will tell you anything bad about “nice”. So you end up with a holiday ad about smiles, and family, and good looking, comfy Gap clothing. Which nobody remembers or cares about. OR…you can insert just a little bit of edge. Edge make life interesting. It makes you lean forward. Edge stands out. We’re talking “just the right amount” of edge, not “scorched earth” edge – this ad is a great example: It’s joyous, it’s festive, it shows the clothes, it’s about family reunion, it’s kindhearted, it’s very true to the brand, etc. And it’s also extremely interesting. you can’t completely figure it out. And that’s what makes it stick. Can you imagine what people would say about it in a focus group? These naysayers are the same people who will be hopelessly drawn in when Gap has the courage to run the ad on TV. A very classy, quirky series of ads directed by Sofia Coppola

 

(PS – for you non-Americans who are completely puzzled: it’s Christmas tradition in the US that if you’re both standing under a sprig of mistletoe, you’re supposed to kiss. That’s where the tension is coming from in this film)

 

Ad of the Day: October 31 (Portland)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: Portland
  • Client: Nike
  • Name: Together
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Damn, they got me again! Most excellent ads take us from indifference to love. Some lucky brands already “have us at hello,” so all they have to do is be consistently good and the love continues. And everyone has a few brands/categories/topics/products which they are predisposed to dislike. Turning that dynamic around, now that’s a challenge! As you may know, LeBron is going back to Cleveland, and all the messianic buzz is getting…a bit over the top. I was ready to hate this ad. And yet, one can’t help but get swept up. Partly it’s the grand visual impact of the growing human huddle, or the lovely black and white cinematography, or the stirring pre-game speech. But no, this one is all about…Pride. The pride of a city, the pride of a group of people being reborn. They managed to tap into the same midwestern, blue collar, gritty perseverance as the Chrysler “Imported from Detroit” series, an the result is fantastic. You try to fight it, but you can’t. Well done for Nike…again. (PS – notice the end frame has a link allowing you to download a high res poster right to your desktop – never seen that before on youtube, but it’s utterly brilliant.)

 

Ad of the Day: October 23 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Colossal Media
  • Location: New York
  • Client: Perrier
  • Name: Inspired by street art
  • Category: packaging/web film/ooh
  • Why I like it: It’s a great time to be in this business, especially for those with an ambitious, creative, action-oriented mindset. It used to be that packaging design, outdoor, street art, on-site activations and film were all completely separate items within a broader “creative industry” umbrella, for good and sensible reasons. And to most marketers, they still are. But to companies with a progressive mindset, it doesn’t have to be this way. Take a look at what Perrier has done – on the surface it’s a limited edition label re-design which you (hopefully) will notice when you see it on the shelf. But dig a little deeper and a whole program emerges which multiplies the opportunities for consumer engagement (have a look at the other videos to see what else they did), and puts the brand right at the core of a global, urban creativity design movement. Fantastique.

 

Ad of the Day: October 9 (Kansas City)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: VML
  • Location: Kansas City, MO
  • Client: Wendy’s
  • Name: #BBQ4MERICA
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: When in doubt, there are a few “Hail Mary” type of devices that can take your work to another level. Music is definitely one. Humor, pop-culture, nostalgia, and celebrities can also work great – as we see in this film for Wendy’s. It’s a risky proposition because if you’re one degree off it just doesn’t work. But for a certain demographic (Ralph “Karate Kid” Macchio, I used to worship you, man! where have you been?!) this one works wonderfully. What’s most admirable here is that that they didn’t rest on their laurels once they sold the idea or secured the celebrities. The difference between good and great is in their pushing beyond and really going for it – that’s where the little killer details are born (Steve Austin wiping away a tear, Ralph Macchio’s caption, the wonderful spelling of the hashtag, etc.)