Ad of the Day – September 12 (Paris)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

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!
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Ad of the Day – February 21 (London)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Adam&eveDDB
  • Location: London
  • Client: VW
  • Name: Parachute
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: The most powerful truths are often those that are staring us right in the face. When it comes to talking about cost, marketers and creatives often prefer to talk about “value” instead, usually contorting the message into crazy positions in order to make the cost more palatable. “You get what you pay for” is such a powerful, universally recognized truth, and yet you rarely see it mentioned. Why? Because, it takes guts and self-assurance to come out and say it (luckily VW has plenty of both.) Of course, it’s not only in the what, but also in the how. This ad is pitch-perfect in its use of humor and simple metaphors to bring to life this truth. A little gem that turns the table of “cost-apologists”…well done! 

Ad of the Day – May 30 (Oslo)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Try/Apt
  • Location: Oslo
  • Client: DNB Bank
  • Name: “Call the bank”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Humor is such a great trojan horse into the brain. Hard to pull off, yes – but when you succeed it’s devastatingly efficient, and it even seems so simple! This ad leaves you with a smile, delivers the benefit clearly, and (critically) gets the name of the advertiser into your head, and into your conversations with friends. Think how terrifying this ad must be for the marketing manager to sign off on…no bank setting, no happy customers, no mention of a bank at all until the middle of the ad, no branding until the very end, no logo…etc. And yet…this is the type of ad you would watch again, and pass on, and not immediately reject. Normal bank ads? Not so much. Get noticed, provide something of value (in this case, a chuckle), and then deliver your message and your brand. A great follow-up by DNB to their great George Clooney ad from last year.

Ad of the Day – March 13 (Paris)

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Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Leo Burnett
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Le Trefle (toilet paper)
  • Name: “Emma”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: If you can “tell” your ad as a quick joke that is funny and makes people laugh or smile, it’s probably a sign that something is working! This one certainly qualifies on the lighthearted-humor front. But let’s dig a little deeper and notice two other things that make this ad interesting: 1) The funny gag/punchline of the ad is obviously the toilet paper-on-a-tablet bit at the end. But to me, the most memorable part is the repetition of “Emma!” throughout, in different stages of exasperation. This is not something that would look funny on a storyboard (and perhaps wasn’t even a part of the original script!) but it absolutely comes to life in the production, with the help of a talented actor and director. The lesson is that humor, inspiration, and other “magical” bits can be crafted…up to a point. You never completely know when they will strike, or in what way. One must relinquish a bit of control, one must remain open and inquisitive and keep pushing – in the hopes that the unexpected miraculous little detail will spring to life. 2) I love how this toilet paper company came at this ad in a completely oblique manner: No mention at all of absorbency, strength, number of plies, softness, cute babies, etc. They set up a battle of paper vs. digital…a false conflict …but one that draws you in and makes you think of the virtues of Le Trefle toilet paper. So let’s see: an unusual approach that breaks the category rules, but one with the product at the core, and one that gets you noticed and remembered. Sure beats the alternative! Their gamble was creative, courageous, and smart – and it paid off.

Ad of the Day – September 25 (Taipei)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world! Sorry for the unintended break last week. Ad of the Day is back!

Today’s pick: DON’T LOOK AT THE TITLE OF THE VIDEO-CLIP ABOVE! WATCH THE AD FIRST  BEFORE READING ANYTHING!

  • Agency: Leo Burnett
  • Location: Taipei, Taiwan
  • Client: McDonald’s
  • Name: “Bruce”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Come on now, this is hilarious:) It’s the advertising equivalent of someone slipping on a banana peel, or a video of a skateboarder crash-landing on his crotch. This is a joke right out of a 7-year-old at recess, yet it’s amazing how well it holds up once taken to the “big leagues”. It’s so…silly…but it gets at the heart of a certain type of funny: mixing the unexpected with the obvious in a delightfully fresh way. I also marvel at its simplicity. We were talking about this at the office last week, how hard it can be to just be simple enough, especially in today’s world of over-think and razor-thin margins of error. Yet…every once in a while you come across one of these ideas, and you need to pounce on them. The folks at LB Taiwan sure did, to their credit (first Ad of the Day ever from Taiwan!). And they produced it expertly, with atmospherics, suspense, cultural resonance, and expert timing. Really well done, with a smile. I’m lovin’ it!

Ad of the Day – September 6 (Los Angeles)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Deutsch
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Client: VW Jetta
  • Name: “Bad dog”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: VW has been on somewhat of a virtuoso streak in the last couple of years, particularly in film. One inspired ad (say for example “The Force”) can be attributed in part to some good luck – after all, if there was a formula we’d all be doing it more often. But when you start seeing multiple great ads like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one or this one…from different agencies, from different countries around the world, and for different models…well then you know that something is going on…perhaps there actually is a formula! More likely it’s a philosophy about creativity that stems from one or two very talented people at the top of VW. I’d like to know more, because whatever it is, it’s working for me! This one above is one more in a line of really good ads. Simple as hell, focused on an interesting benefit that might seem small…but hooks you in (without this nothing else matters!) and leaves you with a warm feeling for the brand, crisply shot and expertly produced (the soundtrack is once again a difference-maker, as is the casting of the dog). Sometimes I fear we over-complicate things: deeply debating the human insight, the broad strategy, the maslow’s pyramid, this paradigm here and that global learning there…ultimately getting so invested in our own brilliance that we then feel it must ALL appear in the 30s ad…when all people want when they get back from work is to sit in front of a couch…not think too hard…and maybe crack a smile. Well done, once again for VW, who clearly gets this and makes it look easy!

Ad of the Day – August 31 (Melbourne)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Clemenger BBDO
  • Location: Melbourne
  • Client: Carlton Draught
  • Name: “Beer Chase”
  • Category: Film

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!

Ad of the Day – August 21 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BBH NY
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Client: Axe
  • Name: “Office Love”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: So much has been written, seen and debated about Axe that it’s hard to look at one of their spots without preconceived notions of horny teenage-boy fantasies. But put that out of your mind as you look at this lovely little ad for their shampoo. Two things jumped out at me as I watched. One, I love the insight about hair being the thing that girls see first. It’s different, intriguing, it rings true, and it fits perfectly within Axe’s brand positioning but in a more clever, slightly less over-the-top way. But the most obvious thing is the creative approach. Completely absurd and surreal…but it does manage to be endearing, truthful (what the guys look at first…true), and even sweet in depicting this budding office romance (which is not the common Axe approach.) It’s so obvious, isn’t it?: those of us in the industry (agency AND client) must take chances…or face indifference. There are probably 10 ways to make an ad about this insight, and very likely this is the only one that you would notice immediately on TV, that would catch your attention and even stick in your mind a couple of days later. This is the one you want…but that means that you had to had the courage of not going for the other 9. We should think about that as we engage with creativity: are we being courageous? If we aren’t, why should we expect the consumer to remember us?

Ad of the Day – August 17 (Paris)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Publicis Conseil
  • Location: Paris
  • Client: Orange (telecom)
  • Name: “Surf as fast as you think”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: And we end the week with a dose of double-brilliance: What a great example of taking a dull product attribute and making it totally shine. Performance and browser speed on a mobile phone is decidedly non-sexy. But the folks at Conseil amplified it tremendously through a really neat, intriguing creative idea…”surf as fast as you think”. And then they executed the hell out of it and made it 10x better! Funny, visually interesting, on target, suitably brand-linked, and totally effective in dramatizing the brand promise. I just loved it. And why, you ask, did I mention double brilliance? Check out the accompanying ad…and bow your head at the awesomeness of how they came up with this and pulled it off!

Ad of the Day – August 16 (Sao Paulo)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: Sao Paulo
  • Client: Comedy Central LATAM
  • Name: “Siesta”
  • Category: Film. Viral video

Why I like it: Ha! Love it. It’s a funny 2 minutes (it’d better be, if it’s for Comedy Central!), it has a bit of an edge (some Latins might be offended at the characterization…but if they are they’re not the target audience), it’s well-connected to the brand, and it’s not afraid to push things beyond, into that “silly zone” where the humor either works or doesn’t. I’ve written before about online videos, because their “virality” is so elusive…if we knew what caused it, we’d do it all the time. In this case, the video has a lot of “replayability” and “sharability”. The idea itself is not that creative or even funny. But the executional choices made show real comedic talent behind the scenes, and I’d bet that actual comedy writers (not just agency creatives) were involved in this…the oddly-german accent of the narrator, the inclusion of the Chinese second-place competitor, the way the judge disqualifies competitors with a slap and a “Fuera!”…little touches that take the idea and elevate it to…funny. So easy to enjoy when you watch it, so damn hard to accomplish! Nice work from our Paulista friends at W+K, parabens!