Ad of the Day – November 1 (Oslo)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Try/Apt
  • Location: Oslo
  • Client: Lofoten (fish burgers)
  • Name: Hold the cod
  • Category: Web film
  • Why I like it: Bring on the silliness. And why not? Fish burgers sound like a dull product to advertise. So you take the creative approach: build a story around the product, personify the brand (in this case, the place town where the brand originates), add a humor, drive the narrative with quirky/interesting characters, don’t be afraid to push into crazy territory – (seriously, don’t be afraid because this is key), and once you hook them, deliver the message clearly and attractively. It’s a clear-cut formula that is easier to recite than to execute. But it’s worth the effort, and the proof is in the result: in this case a wonderfully odd little film from Norway.

 

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Ad of the Day – October 16 (Los Angeles)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Threshold Interactive
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Client: Hot Pockets
  • Name: You got what I eat
  • Category: Music Video
  • Why I like it: This one is a gem, for its unapologetic self-awareness, for its fearlessness in speaking to its “real” target, and for its overall boldness.Two main lessons to draw: 1. Know your target. No, I mean, really know your real target – half the time we deal with generalities because we have the well-meaning conviction that we appeal to everyone. Get over it. Find the bulls-eye. Find the core, and talk to them (the others will listen!) If not,someone else will find them, and they will steal them from you.The other half of the time, we know who they are…but we don’t know them. Yes, you read the research report, yes you went to a focus group. Nonsense, you’re only scratching the surface. Dig deep, live with them, be them. Or hire people who can give you that insight. Any consumer knowledge you get from a Powerpoint or two will lead to generic advertising. 2. Make the bold choices – I can just imagine the thousand well-meaning objections that had to be overcome: a music video hasn’t been done before, it’s too risky, is not right, it will send the wrong message, it’s too obvious we’re talking to stoners, the cost is too high, we’ve always done 30s, it will not get approved by management, the media plan is already pre-booked, moms will object, it will be too expensive, it will not get us coverage, this can’t be quantitatively tested, etc… And yet…The result is a complete home run: funny, interesting, perfect in tonality, shareable, with buzz factor. And did you notice that they manage to sneak in about one thousand product shots, and engage in a whole debate about the functional attributes of the product (filling vs. crust) all while entertaining and engaging? That’s how it’s done, people. Very, very nice job. It almost (emmm…not quite) makes me hungry for a Hot Pocket.
     

(Context for the non US readers – Kate Upton is the hot starlet du jour, Snoop Dogg is a famous SoCal rapper that is all about the weed, and the song “Just a Friend” is a classic sing-along rap hit from 1989, and it features the lyrics “baby you, you got what I need…”)

PS – Thanks to Paul M for the tip!

Ad of the Day – September 30 (Auckland)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
  • Location: Auckland
  • Client: Tui (beer)
  • Name: Always something brewing
  • Category: Ambient, web film
  • Why I like it: Just plain fun. Over 2 million views in a few days. Considering that the population of New Zealand is a little over 4 million…I’d say that’s a job well done as far as reach:) Everyone loves a good hidden camera prank. However, what makes this one a little different is that it doesn’t rely exclusively on the “victim” and his reaction…most of the joy here actually comes from seeing the childish, barely restrained glee among the friends that set up the prank! It’s like that feeling in a surprise party (the guest is about to come in…the lights are off…keep it silent…almost here…) you can’t help but to feel a thrill of youthful excitement and joy, and this is what comes through in the video – very contagious! It’s got replayability, and it’s definitely shareable. I think they stumbled a bit on the branding (it should have been much more prominent), but nevertheless I’m a fan. Today is Monday, but it’s the eve of a week-long holiday in China…so a lighthearted beer video is quite fitting!

Ad of the Day – September 12 (Gothenburg)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Forsman & Bodenfors
  • Location: Gothenburg
  • Client: Volvo trucks
  • Name: The Hook
  • Category: web film
  • Why I like it: When others zig, zag. In today’s world of relentless advancement and innovation in the technique of advertising…there’s something delightfully retro about this web film. It reminds me of ads they might have done in the 60s or 70s. The “torture test” demo, the CEO-as-spokesman, the little details like him wearing a suit and tie, or his Swedish accent, or the interesting single-take shot, or even his charming assurance that “you don’t need to worry.” It’s all so crisp, single minded…and reminiscent of a simpler time in advertising, perhaps?

Bonus content: Another one in this series, called “The Technician”, is also pretty good:

Ad of the Day – August 28 (Provo)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: N/A. Directed by Devin Graham, aka Devin Supertramp
  • Location: Provo, Utah
  • Client: Mountain Dew
  • Name: Human bungee slingshot
  • Category: web film
  • Why I like it: Fun. Youthfulness. Extreme. Wild. Smiles. Friends. Awesome…notice that none of these words were spoken or shown on this video (actually, no words at all!), and yet all of this comes through so vividly – I’ll bet you were smiling as you watched it! This web video is a great example of the maxim that action (showing it) speaks louder than words. Also known as “don’t tell me you’re funny, tell me a joke and make me laugh!” Or said more elegantly still: “Preach the gospel always…if necessary, use words”. We often get way too lost talking to ourselves and rationalizing away in our advertising, instead of just being. Many other interesting things going on here: 1) it’s so important not to overplay the brand role if you want your video to have a chance at going viral…here Mountain Dew does it just right. How easy would it have been to screw this one up by putting in some voiceover, or some product claim, or painting the whole thing with a huge MD logo? And yet they didn’t. 2) This director does only Youtube videos for a living. Very interesting, and says a lot about today’s new media landscape. Check out his link below. 3) Music music music music. So important, it can’t be said enough. 4) Two Ads of the Day by Mountain Dew in just a few days. This actually means something, these things don’t happen by coincidence. Probably a year ago there were big changes on the marketing/agency side, a new system/ambition/philosophy came into place, and perhaps we’re starting to see the output trickling out now. I’d keep an eye out on their market share.

Bonus content: More on Devin Supertramp  http://www.wired.com/playbook/2012/04/devin-graham-devinsupertramp/

Ad of the Day – June 7 (Singapore)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: BBH
  • Location: Singapore
  • Client: Chupa Chups (lollipops)
  • Name: Lillipop street artist
  • Category: FIlm

Why I like it: There is a lot of finely calibrated balance at play in this web film. The most obvious is the “is this for real or is this an ad?” question – this question alone can be quite powerful (it has underpinned entire theatrical films) and here they play it very well…never entirely giving it away, and balancing in enough to keep you guessing. Also well balanced is the branding…subtle enough to be there, but not overt enough to every break the spell. And the  plot: a very unusual premise, yet built around recognizable themes like “tourist abroad”. Even the timing: a little longer and you lose the edge and focus. A little shorter and you decrease the rising tension. Just four of many dozens of choices that were made along the way and handled “just right”. The result has replayability, brandability, and sharability…three ingredients of a good web film that now has a chance to go viral!

Bonus content: Have a look at the follow-up “reveal” video, it’s great (click here). Notice how they re-calibrate very cleverly: they greatly ramp up the brand presence, in a way that is still subtle, even funny. They keep a little bit of the mystery. And they increase the humor throughout the video, leaving you with a smile and positive feelings towards the brand. Expertly managed: from high mystery, high interest, low branding…to high humor, high interest, high branding.

Ad of the Day – June 6 (Cairo)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: JWT
  • Location: Cairo
  • Client: Dolceca (ice cream)
  • Name: Aqua Mangos
  • Category: Web film

Why I like it: I love every second of this film. It’s the most ridiculous premise ever…but it’s carried out with such commitment, passion and attention to detail that it completely hooks you and wins you over with its irrepressible charm. The commitment and passion is shown by the characters (who play it straight, which makes them truly funny), and is evident because there is no corner-cutting in production: they went out and rented the boat, cast the crew, and actually filmed this silly story. A minor miracle, because one can imagine so many “yeah, but…:” moments along the way. And the attention to detail…most videos are happy to have one good gag, here they are gently scattered everywhere: from being told what to do with an extinct fish (“kill it”…”but, it’s extinct!”), to the hyper-combative Filipino crewman, to the oddly cross-eyed navigation officer, and more.  A real gem coming at us from Egypt!

Ad of the Day – March 15 (Antwerp)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Duval Guillaume
  • Location: Antwerp, Belgium
  • Client: Carlsberg
  • Name: “Putting Friends to the test”
  • Category: Viral Film

Why I like it: Duval Guillaume is quickly becoming mega-famous for their viral “stunt” videos. Their track record of late is simply stunning: From the TNT “surprise in a quiet square“, to its TNT follow-up “a dramatic surprise on an ice-cold day“, to the Carlsberg “Bikers in a movie theater“, to the Coke Zero’s “007 in the train station“, and a few others…all in the last year or so! I am in awe. I mean…come on!! I would be happy with just one of these, and these guys are pumping them out every couple of months, for major brands, racking up millions of views! Clearly there’s something in the water in Antwerp that is just…right. I want some of it. The latest installment for Carlsberg has many of the ingredients that has made the others so successful: Amazing production values. International appeal. Fun “reality tv” type core idea that is easy to relate to. And a credible association with the brand (although I think the role of the brand could/should be stronger.) Either way, it will bring a smile to your face, and it might inspire you to share with a friend. Carlsberg thanks you for it. Happy Friday!

Ad of the Day – December 5 (Chicago)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Draftfcb
  • Location: Chicago
  • Client: KFC
  • Name: “Happy Holidays”
  • Category: Web Film

Why I like it: Just right! Really enjoyed these 3 videos for their universal insight, their comedic timing, the improv-style dialogue, and the great silent acting from our dejected hero sitting in the middle. It may seem like the easiest idea ever pitched in a conference room, but it takes real talent to execute something so finely balanced: consider the timing (not too little or the tension doesn’t build, not too long or you kill the joke), consider the role of the product (the catalyst, the pivot-point in the video, but not at all intruding on the initial joke), consider the role of the main message (clearly delivered at the end, but not competing with the action that generates the interest). You get the point. This is an example of proper craft. And perhaps the most striking example of craft: how easy would it have been to put in a big logo at the end? Or a super? Or or a “Season’s greetings, brought to you by KFC”  voiceover? Or, god forbid, a seasonal promotional offer? And yet…they didn’t. And it’s better because of it. And it will get passed around and enjoyed much more because of it. Sometimes the hardest thing to figure out is what not to do. I think they nailed it! Well done, and happy holidays to my colleagues at DFCB Chicago, my home of 5 years:)


Ad of the Day – November 20 (Chicago)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Arc Worldwide
  • Location: Chicago
  • Client: Purina (a dog food brand)
  • Name: “Bringing play to the work place”
  • Category: Web film

Why I like it: This silly video really brightened up my morning, and left me humming the song all day long…(and I’m not even a dog lover!) Sometimes, that’s all it takes. In general, good advertising is really hard work, done by talented people. (the other day I described it as “a perfectly calibrated 30 second bit of entertainment/sales” – how fancy!) But every once in a big while you see a video like this and you realize it can also be so easy. This idea is something that a 6-year-old would come up with, and it works precisely because of that simple, unpretentious, infectious joy that just seeps out from every corner. Consider that there are so many things “technically” wrong with this video (eg: brand linkage? they could have put just about any logo at the end and it would have worked almost as well!)…and yet…against all odds…it works. Lack of branding is not a problem, this is one of those examples where you enjoy the video so much that you “pay it back” with your attention, as if saying “that was great, ok, go ahead and tell me…who was this is from?”. Ninety-nine percent of the time this approach yields a disaster ad that is quickly forgotten, but when it works, well…it works. And a special note on the music…when it’s just right…what a powerful shortcut to emotion!