Ad of the Day – February 10 (Portland)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: Portland
  • Client: Old Spice shampoo
  • Name: Meeting
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: So you’re marketing a men’s shampoo. There’s a long and arduous path between your product and a strategy of “hair that gets results.” You’re lucky if you arrive at this sort of creative launching pad: the phrase is open to many interpretations, yet it piques the interest, and it feels appropriate for the product and the target. So far, it’s all pretty strategic, somewhat rational. What fascinates me here is the magical spark that sometimes comes after this…when real creativity happens. In this case, creativity is taking possibly the most literal interpretation of the product promise, and bringing it to life in a way that is surprising, absurd and yet completely engaging. Crisp and clear delivery of a compelling message in a way that cuts through the clutter reaches your intended target. It’s that simple, and that brilliant. So why don’t we all do brilliant work more often? Is it a lack of talent? A lack of courage? A lack of understanding of what good creativity even looks like? Worth a  little introspection, perhaps, as we begin the Year of the Horse. 
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Ad of the Day – January 8 (Portland)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: Portland
  • Client: Turbotax (a tax preparation software)
  • Name: The Year of You
  • Category: Film
  • Why I like it: Degree of difficulty matters. If you can crack a brief for a topic as cold and off-putting as tax preparation software, that’s quite a feat. And here I think they nail it by humanizing the topic and keeping the focus on what you care about (you) and not what you don’t (tax preparation software). The copy is fresh, contemporary, and with a very authentic tone. It brings the storytelling to life and draws you in. And in the second half, the brand is introduced in a manner that is relevant…without taking the focus away from the real hero of this story, “you”. Really insightful work, lovingly executed. 

 

Ad of the Day – February 5 (Portland)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: Portland, OR
  • Client: Oreo
  • Name: “Whisper Fight”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: A fresh, delightfully quirky take on a brand whose TV advertising is normally quite safe. How did this happen? I don’t know what went on at W+K (who pitched for and won this single-tvc project), but let’s imagine:

Creative team, day 1: We’ve nailed it!! It’s a debate: people who like the cream part vs. people who like the cookie part!

ECD: Yeah, but that’s been done to death. Miller beer…even Oreo did it a couple of years ago. This is the Super Bowl, folks! Think harder.

Creative team, day 3: Bam! Thank you! We’ve got it! It’s a debate between the cookie people and the cream people, and it gets totally violent and out of control! Cops come in, a big riot, it’ll rock!

ECD: Not bad, but it feels a little gratuitous, a little out of nowhere. What’s interesting about the violence? There’s something there, but it’s nowhere near ready. Think harder.

Creative team, day 7: Boom shaka-laka! That’s what am talkin’ about, bitch, knowaimsain? Check it check it: It’s a debate between the cream-ers and the cookie-ers that quickly escalates into an all-out riot, and…wait for it…it takes place in a library!! The cognitive dissonance between the location and the action is what gets us over the top! Thank you for pushing us before, or we wouldn’t have nailed this twist! (at this point the creatives have secretly sworn to quit and start over if the idea is not approved.)

ECD: Hmmm. Yes. Nice. But…its…not quite there yet. Something is missing. This is good, even very good. We could shoot this tomorrow. But we need outstanding. How do we get to outstanding? What is the variable that we’re missing? Think harder.

Creative team, day 10: Ummm. Well, we were thinking, we’ve got this riot going on in a library, and then we though – libraries, you’re not only supposed to be still, but you’re supposed to be quiet, or the librarian gets angry…so then we thought, what if we make this whole riot happen in whispers? It’s just a small thing, and kind of silly, but people would relate, and we think that maybe…

That burst of inspiration that makes an ad special…it can happen at any time, and can come from anyone. The trick is to keep pushing and never be satisfied. Always tinker, always improve. All of the successful creatives I’ve met share that trait, that “divine discontent” with the work. Here’s to the pushers and tinkerers!

Ad of the Day – January 21 (Portland/Tokio)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: W+K
  • Location: Portland/Tokio
  • Client: Nike
  • Name: “Vapor trail”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Idea and execution. Content and craft.  “A great story…well told”. It all comes back to these two critical ingredients of good advertising. In most cases we strive for a balance, because that is how you maximize the chances of hitting the creative jackpot. A great idea, told in an amazing way – that’s the ticket! If the balance is tipped towards either ends of the scale, it gets really hard, because then your idea or execution has to compensate for that imbalance, and most simply cannot. But…every once in a while, you see it. Especially on the execution side – an execution so different, so unique, so well done, so all-absorbing…that it becomes the idea, too. Here’s a great example. Not much of an idea there, as traditionally defined. And personally, I dislike the player, so the celebrity angle doesn’t even work. But man…I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. The execution is so good that it crosses over and becomes the idea, and along the way converts an ad into entertainment. Quite rare (although perhaps less rare for W+K: Old Spice and Honda “Cog” come to mind,) and always fantastic to see.

Ad of the Day – January 8 (New York)

Your daily dose of advertising awesomeness from around the world!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
  • Location: New York
  • Client: ESPN
  • Name: “Michael Jordan”
  • Category: Film

Why I like it: Heh:) This would be a great brief to work on. “People take sports seriously…almost crazily so.” This can be done in so many ways! Of course, the trick is to be impactful (the name Michael Jordan still has huge cache in sports), funny (the disappointment of the maitre d, the tacit acceptance of Michael to his fate), memorable (how many times have you wondered about what it must be like for these people?), well-executed (the acting, the music, the casting…all just right), and balanced (don’t overplay the joke, don’t over-complicate, don’t oversell). Working on this brief is easy…but getting out an ad like this that stands out, that’s the trick that we all chase every day. Good stuff from W+K.

Ad of the Day – August 16 (Portland, OR)

Every morning I go to adsoftheworld.com and other sites and look at 10 random 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 it will be pretty weak. But it’s the Ad of the Day!

Today’s pick:

  • Agency: Wieden & Kennedy
  • Location: Portland, Oregon, US (*I’m making an exception because I think this rocks)
  • Client: Levi’s
  • Name: “Go Forth”
  • Why I like it: The words from Charles Bukowski’s poem “The Laughing Heart” provide the backdrop for this somewhat-haunting-yet-tremendously-inspiring celebration of youth, desire, life. This one I think will be somewhat polarizing: many will find it a big bunch of BS. Because, for one, this is  advertising is 100% emotion, 0% product. Yet…for an iconic brand like Levi’s, in this context, I think it so works. It really resonated within me at age 39…if was an 18-year-old kid…man I’d be ready to go and take on the world after watching this. Two side notes: these ads were pulled in England given the riots, what bad luck. Today is Charles Bukowski’s birthday, so it’s a fitting exception to my non-US rule!