Ad of the Day – May 20 (London)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: AMV BBDO
  • Location: London
  • Client: Pedigree
  • Name: “Bad Dog, Good Dog”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Classy. Even for those not the target audience, it’s hard to not be taken in by the superb executional flair of the “symmetric” narrative device. You don’t quite perceive it as it’s initially happening, but once it dawns on you in the second half, it’s a joy to follow the narrative through to the end. And, having “bad food…good food!” as the pivot-point of the ad…brilliant. A wonderful narrative device that satisfies the creative director and the brand manager in equal measure – not something you see every day! It also happens to be the difference between a normal dog food ad and a superior dog food ad. These little details take a lot of talent and make all the difference.

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Ad of the Day – May 13 (London)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Adam&EveDDB
  • Location: London
  • Client: VW
  • Name: “Baby”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Terrific. In world filled with mediocre ads, this high standard is actually becoming the norm for VW, which is truly amazing because it’s so hard to do even one time. This one is the latest in a long string of ads that feel incredibly human: both accessible and completely universal. They are well-branded. They are expertly crafted with little details made to count (for me it was the zombie-like opening of the eyes…and you know the crying comes one second later…or the haggard and resigned expression of the dad, or the “brothers-in-arms” knowing look between the two dads…all the little things that matter so much!) They often show a minor product feature as a way into the heart (while getting the branding job done), instead of featuring the cliché car talking points that lead to a cliché ad. They have a light, happy vibe about them, always going for the heart-warming smile instead of the burst of laughter. Above all, they generate brand love for VW. If you’ve had kids, chances are this ad will work for you, some little detail will trigger a smile and a memory…and in the midst of that, “VW” will register. And that’s a lot to ask for in the automotive industry, where ads tend to blend into one another.

Ad of the Day – January 18 (Los Angeles)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Deutsch
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Client: VW Passat
  • Name: “Toss”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: VW has reached a stage with their advertising where they just “make it look easy”. Like a seasoned basketball pro that can swish basket after basket, or an illustrator who sketches brilliant caricatures on demand, or a street musician that can play any tune on their piano…the VW reel of late is consistently and self-assuredly a level above the competition. This ad, like many that precede it, has a warmth that is not common in the category, along with the confidence to sell without over-selling. It has humor that delights, but does not overshadow. It appeals to the emotions, while still delivering a product message. It features the product, without breaking the narrative. It lets you think you’ve figured it out, and then turns the tables on you. And so forth. This stuff is really, really hard to do well! Yet VW has been doing it now for a couple of years… Four days ago they announced a global sales record for 2012. Coincidence? I think not.

Ad of the Day – October 24 (Los Angeles)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Deutsch
  • Location: Los Angeles
  • Client: Volkswagen
  • Name: “It’s not miles…”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: I dare you. Watch this ad without smiling. You can’t. Watch this ad without getting a warm feeling. You can’t. That’s advertising gold. But there’s a big “IF”. It’s gold IF one is able to link the message with the brand/product, IF the good feelings are associated in the brain with the brand that brought them to you. That’s the big test. This ad is a very risky proposition, considering there is no car, no VO, no demo, no category, no brand, no nothing until the last 2 seconds! It could have been an ad for any product. The question is, will you believe that it comes from VW? Will you make the link? Will it affect your feelings for the brand and not just for life in general? For me the answer was “yes”, and thus I find this ad is a home run, a small gem. It works because VW has been doing amazing work it with its advertising over the last 2-3 years, giving us varying degrees of “car” information but always within a very human, very emotional shell. It works because it’s a part of a robust media plan with multiple messages that build up over time (people still remember “The Force” even a year and a half later). In essence, VW has worked hard over a period of time and has “earned” the right to issue this type of manifesto. And they’ve done it with staggering simplicity, elegance, and impact. I’d be shocked if this didn’t make the brand manager very nervous at first sight. I’d be shocked if this underwent extensive consumer testing, I’d be shocked if it survived quantitative testing. And yet…here it is! Kudos to Deutsch LA, what a shame it would be if advertisers and agencies did not take these chances every now and then, because these are the types of efforts that elevate our profession.


Ad of the Day – November 28 (Buenos Aires)

Every morning I scour the web and look at the latest ads (in any medium) from around the non-US world. Then I post for you my Ad of the Day. Some days it will be awesome, some days you might not like it. But it’s the Ad of the Day!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: DDB Argentina
  • Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Client: VW Tiguan
  • Name: “Duel”
  • Why I like it: The Western shooter standoff is very familiar ground in advertising, perhaps too familiar. But the “I give up” hands-up gesture is a great new twist, and this is where the ad becomes great: This creative hook is well-acted, surprising and memorable…and of course it is completely connected to the benefit! (this, my friends, is a clear sign of a good ad). Total integration of creative idea with the product benefit. So obvious, yet so hard to do right. Loved this one. A great way to start of the week from the super talented folks at DDB in Buenos Aires (among them is my brother-in-law Hernan Jauregui!)

PS – What a joy it is when you have a great client, with a great brand, with an appealing brand/product benefit. In this case we have VW: just check the Ad of the day Archives, or even the awards show results for 2011 and you’ll see a lot of excellent work from them around the world and with different agencies and car models – clearly there is an overriding philosophy that is helping to push great work forward. Then you have the VW Tiguan, which has a hands-free auto parking feature which is very cool, and very different. A gift for a creative, really. You can go at it in so many different ways: Almap BBDO did so like this and won a Cannes Lion for it. This time it was DDB Argentina’s turn (who by the way also won big in Cannes for a print campaign for VW).

Ad of the Day – Nov 8 (Sydney)

Every morning I scour the web and look at the latest ads (in any medium) from around the non-US world. Then I post for you my Ad of the Day. Some days it will be awesome, some days you might not like it. But it’s the Ad of the Day!

After a brief stay in Shanghai, where there is no Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or WordPress (the horror!), we are BACK!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: DDB Sydney
  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • Client: VW Tiguan
  • Name: “Cross Country”
  • Why I like it: The big things are important. But in advertising, it’s so key to get the little things right. This ad loses me on many levels (for example, I think the critical failure is that it doesn’t do enough for the car…and it’s a car ad). BUT…I love this ad for the way it does the little things. The leisurely music contrasting with the frantic action. The way she slides the muffins into her pocket. The way she ties her shoe on the dashboard. The way she smacks his hand when he honks the horn. The disheveled way in which they “wake up” for the second time. It’s all so real, so human. So spontaneous-looking.  It’s what makes this an inspired ad for me, whatever its shortcomings. Yet another VW “ad of the day”, and yet again some solid work from the folks down under at DDB Sydney!