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.
Client: Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
Name: Buy them a delegate pass
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!
Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!
Client: Norwegian Airlines
Name: The Flag of Flags
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.
Why I like it: Awesome. I love long form copy ads, they are a sign of courage and a gamble on differentiation in this day of hyper-visual print design. I love writing that takes you down a narrative spiral…once you’ve entered the first sentence, you can’t pull away until you’ve reached the end. I enjoy a hipster, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor that shows you they don’t take themselves too seriously, even if attempting to go long on the copy. But enough about the copy…how about that design? I can’t recall the last time I saw art direction which so crisply managed to combine: striking minimalism in the design…while clearly conveying the product cues…in a completely innovative way that actually forces the eye to read the copy. Wow. Yet another fantastic set of ads that pass the “could it go up on a living room wall?” test.
Why I like it: It almost seems unfair, really, when you have a series of print ads that are so simple – yet so filled with raw power, meaning, and brand linkage. It feels as if it should be a little more complex, a little harder to get things so right. Ah, but it is so hard. Simple is the hardest of things to pull off! A brand needs to earn the right to go for simple, and this can take years or decades of consistently laying the groundwork. And then of course, an agency and client team have to have the talent, the vision, and the courage to let the message speak for itself, without the heavy burden of add-ons that act as insurance policies. There’s nothing simple about making something look simple. And that’s why this series of print ads is the type of work that should be celebrated.
Bonus content: There is also a tvc, which oddly enough doesn’t have the same impact on me. Click here to see it.
Why I like it: Lovely little ads such as this one make it all look so simple, don’t they? A bright, joyful visual to lure you in. A headline that builds on the image to deliver the message in one fell swoop. Supporting body copy that says what is needed…and no more. And the art direction is amazing. I lack the technical know-how to describe it accurately, but it just looks…crisp. With an elegant and unconventional placement of the logo, a classic typeface, dominant white space, it all adds up. So if it can be so simple, why do we over-complicate so much? Well, in truth it’s only “simple” to truly talented people, if at all. And there are many more ads needed than talented people to make them and clients to approve them. So-called “complication” (process, research, revisions, strategy, testing, tweaking, briefings etc.) is merely a well-meaning attempt to bridge that gap. Because if you don’t get there by sheer talent and inspiration, smarts and grit can go a long way. But, every so often, it’s nice to have a reminder of how “simple” advertising can be.
Why I like it: I’m a huge fan of good print ads that give more than they take: they take your attention and time, but then give you in exchange a thought to ponder, a new perspective on an old topic, a burst of emotion or reckoning, etc. This campaign from my friends at at Ogilvy Buenos Aires hits those notes exactly. There’s an interesting story about ideas and some celebrated men and women that shaped the world with them. Mental images and memories of John Lennon and Martin Luther King leap off the page with little prodding. There’s the credible role of TEDx as a catalyst of this powerful idea sharing. And of course …the way in which these stories are presented is so different that it catches your eye and then pulls you in…the copper bust with figurines going in and out, the odd miniature factory assembly-line, the stark background, it all looks like it came from someone’s very interesting dream! It’s quite simple really: “a great story, well told”. Well…it’s simple to put in a quote but it’s really quite hard to do – that’s why this one stands out. Los felicito, chicos!
Why I like it: Let’s say I’m in need of a print campaign. I would ask you to come up with some ideas. They need to be extremely simple, almost iconic, one glance and you get the message. Ideally the ads would feature the product front and center, because it’s a visual medium and I want my product to be visible. And mind you, I said I wanted simple, but this does not mean mediocre or boring or traditional…there should be some sort of exciting visual or written creative hook that I haven’t seen before, something that catches the eye and makes the ad stick in the memory. Finally, since my product is fashion-related, the styling and art direction should be top-notch. You might think that I’m asking for too many things at once. Then I would show you these ads as a reference, and you would think to yourself “Damn, ok. So, it can be done. Guess I’d better go and have a think.” Nice, nice work by the folks in Zurich!
Why I like it: yes, yes, and yes! “Road safety” has been done to death, so when you come across work that is completely different and unexpected, work that is expertly crafted to deliver a unique and arresting visual “punch”, and work that is intellectually honest and on message…well it just makes me happy:) Furthermore, it’s proof that creativity can truly flourish anywhere: yesterday it came from Minneapolis, and today it comes from a small independent agency in Curitiba. One day inspiration strikes, and the next day you’re shortlisted at Cannes (my prediction). Believe it: your next project could be “the one”…and why the hell not?
Why I like it: Umm, no. It’s not just two women kissing…that would be too easy, and it wouldn’t be nearly as good, if at all. For starters, this one falls right into the folder of “so simple and obvious I can’t believe it hasn’t been done 100 times before!”. The visual is perfectly married to the headline, which is perfectly married to the offering. A lovely little print ad sequence of: a great visual hook catching your attention and…leading to a simple-yet-evocative headline, which pays off the visual and makes you look at it again, appreciate the cleverness, and then…back to the sub headline, where it all makes full sense, the loop is closed, you capture the advertiser that brought this to you and think well of them, and you archive it in your mind for (perhaps) later retrieval. Just perfect, what else can you ask from a print ad? I’m particularly impressed by how they managed to very delicately to balance between being sensual and provocative….and also…very elegant and aspirational – not easy at all to do! Harvey Nichols has been doing some great work of late, and as this body of work starts building over time, it says something important about the retailer – people do notice these things, if only because most retail advertising is so mediocre. Well done to our friends in Adam&EveDDB in London!
Why I like it: We’ve talked a lot about long copy advertising, but these are a sort of “long image” layout! All visual…but it’s something you want to print out and look over carefully in the subway, isn’t it? In that regard, I think it’s a success. Lovely crafted, it draws you in, pays off the product benefit (although frankly the benefit is a little weak), and once you’ve invested so much time…the mind willingly allows the brand to come in and make its sales pitch. They’ve earned it. Very cool, slightly gruesome, definitely different work. Sets of the “Scamocity Scale” a bit…but what the hell, it’s not everyday that you see this type of visual approach, and plus, it’s our very first Ad of the Day from Russia! Congrats to our friends in Moscow!