Why I like it: Getting noticed is the first step. Without your consumer’s attention, all the rest of your work is meaningless. That’s why the opposite of good advertising is not bad advertising…it’s mediocre advertising! Even truly awful “bad” advertising stands a better chance of being noticed and somehow sneaking in through the back door of your brain! You see, all the clichés and conventions and best practices that give us the “all-boxes-checked-so-at-least-my-boss-won’t-blame-me” comfort…they are also our worst enemy, very often condemning our work to indifference in the eye of the consumer. Take this tractor ad, for example. They probably couldn’t come up with a “great” ad, so they came up with the very “worst” ad they could think of, and the result is fresh, funny and noticeable. If I worked on this ad, I would feel proud. But if I work for a car brand and my latest ad featured billowing fabric, sullen supermodels, unwinding country roads, dramatic voice-overs, or slow-motion soaring eagles through the snowfall…I would feel the shame of mediocrity. Which path are you going to take?
“Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night”. David Ogilvy
Why I like it: It’s interesting to trace this one from inception to final result and see how it got improved along the way. Remember, that magical “fairy dust” of inspiration can strike at any moment! Here we have a very common product benefit, not much to work with at all. Not much of a strategy either, probably because this benefit has been done to death. Ah, but the idea of “revive your whites”…this has some promise, yes…bring the whites back from the dead…it has a certain zing to it now that zombies are so hot in pop culture. And the execution? Perfect. The medical setting, the “life” slowly seeping white back into the clothes (what a great demo!), it all comes together with visual interest and clarity of message! Having a dull product and strategy and leaving it all to the hopes of some creative or execution miracle is a risky proposition – most of the time it’s not enough, and that’s why we strive to improve the odds with product development and clever strategies. But if you’re fortunate, and creative inspiration strikes…well that’s really all you need. Consider yourself lucky, and prepare the awards show submission!
Why I like it: A print ad should catch your attention in the first 2 seconds, or you’ve lost the reader. This one catches your attention, and holds it…you smile, look at the bottle, think of the name of the product, look at the man, then back at the bottle, then smile again, then remark on the product name once again, filing it in your memory bank…what else can you ask for? Much good advertising is born from a great product. And a cider called “Dirty Granny” (by the way, Granny Smith is a variety of green apple)is simply begging for some great work. But then you still have to execute it, and the trick is to be edgy but accessible, funny but not over-the-top. Many would take it too far, and fail for being too obvious. Here I think they nail it with amazing casting, sharp photography, fantastic art direction, and great copywriting (and by great copywriting, I mean resisting the temptation to include copy where none is needed!). Cheers to that.
Client: Metro Trains (rail/subway systems of Melbourne)
Name: “Dumb ways to die”
Category: Film/viral video
Why I like it: Very catchy, very cute, but with an edge, and with a healthy dose of humor. Hits all the right notes, and delivers the “be safe around trains” message loud and clear. Just great. Getting the message across is actually quite hard in these public service announcements, because people instinctively don’t like being told what to do. If you go too soft, the message won’t be heard. If you’re too aggressive , people shut off their minds, or even reject your well-meaning message. Hitting that middle note is key, and here I think they nail it with an enjoyable 3 minute animated music video. There are so many other ways in which they could have attempted to deliver on this brief…and even once they landed on this idea, there are so many other ways in which they could have executed it…Just goes to show that when something is “just right”, it’s a minor miracle of brilliance, courage, perseverance, and good luck!
Why I like it: If you’re a parent it will be hard for you to stop watching the ad, hard for you not to smile…and sometimes that’s all it takes. (if you’re single and living in a studio apartment in NY with your two buddies…well you’re not the target!) Overall I loved this one because it had that “right on” feeling about capturing real life, and it also passed the “this is something I would share” test, which for an ad in the diaper category is not common. But to be fair let me point out the bad along with the good. The bad is that I think they fail on the brand linkage front – the brand/product is just not central enough for you to take it away with you, and thus this likely becomes an ad for the entire category…which is bad news and a missed opportunity for Mamia, because the mental “anti-advertising filter” was brought way down by the good: they really nailed it here on execution (the over-dramatic opera music is great comedy, reminds me of the BGH “Dads in Briefs” campaign…) on casting, and on capturing those almost imperceptible expressions on a baby’s face that marks the “oh no…!” moment for parents. Most of all they nailed it when they decided to take a chance on this. The storyboard for this idea was quite dull, I’m sure – they had to go until filming day and beyond to know if they were going to capture the magic. They took a risk, and they made it happen. Cheers to that.
Client: Meat & Livestock Australia (beef producer association)
Name: “Throw another STEAK on the barbie”
Why I like it: It made me laugh, after that everything gets easier. This ad is very “meta” (it’s self-referential – an ad whose whole hook is a reference to another ad). If you get the reference it’s bound to work for you, because this type of humor is all about relevance and comprehension. I think most people will, since it’s borrowing from an ad campaign that has become a part of pop culture in Australia and beyond. But what is even more interesting to me is that this ad is clearly just an element within a wide-ranging campaign “activation” idea. Not even the lead element, but just a soldier playing its part to drum up awareness for a bigger campaign. That where a lot of marketing is moving to (not all mind you, but a lot). I’ll have more on this in an upcoming post. For now, enjoy the laughs. And throw another shrimp on the barbie. Oh wait…
Why I like it: It’s so hard to do “funny” properly…and here I think they nail it. A crazy premise delivered in a serious, go-all-the-way manner, just lovingly executed. From the premise, to the little details like the awesome soundtrack, the movie cliches, the slow-down scene at the roadblock, etc. Nothing revolutionary about the “idea” in this ad, it’s the execution that makes it work! I was at a workshop earlier this week where an interesting thought was raised: in some categories (beer?) where there is nothing really new left to say, or where you very seldom get a truly new insight/idea, there is still a way to shine and innovate: by having your execution be the “idea”. So instead of “a good story (idea) well told (execution)”, what stands out in these categories is “a really amazing way (execution) to tell a story (idea)”. Worth a thought. Well done to the crew at Clemenger, whose past effort for Carlton beer was featured here and was a lion winner at Cannes!
Client: The Star (an entertainment complex – think Vegas Casino)
Name: “There will be stories”
Why I like it: This is very…different. Some will like it, some will say “…huh? What was that all about?” I loved it – it gets high marks from me for being ballsy and fully going for this quirky concept. We’ve had a previous ad of the day from a Las Vegas casino which had similarly notes of decadence, so it’s interesting to compare. The Star mixes off-beat, retro nostalgia, cool cinematography, and interesting little visual back-stories to create a picture of excess, mystery and glamour…all without taking oneself too seriously. Nicely done by the Aussies!
Why I like it: Tell me that you can start watching this ad and then stop after 5 seconds. You can’t. It hooks you in with it’s odd-in-a-slightly-hypnotic way, and the trance-music like buildup is something I haven’t seen before. By the time it gets to the payoff…I’m bursting, and I’m ready to believe in whatever the hell you tell me…including that I should buy a can of “Jim Beam” – note to Jim Beam, I have no idea what you’re selling inside of that can. I assume it’s not straight Bourbon…so some follow-up messaging might be needed. A nice way to start the week in an offbeat way, from our friends down under (and first time Ad of the Day contributors!) at The Works.
Name: “Protect yourself from the ups and downs of farming”
Why I like it: Talk about a vast chasm between the what went into the brief (agribusiness!), and what went out! This is proof that creativity, (and even beauty!) can be found in all categories, in all brands, in all products. And you can tell this is real because, who is going to bother doing a scam ad about this? Delightfully art directed, well written, and suitably elegant for a corporate ad; this is just an inspired effort by the Brisbane Y&R office. Well done, mates!