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A Love Letter to the Campaigns of Years Gone By


INFLUENCER: Senior copywriter Austin Hamilton chats to the team at FCB Inferno about their favourite ads

A Love Letter to the Campaigns of Years Gone By

Valentine's Day is upon us; buckets of roses line supermarket windows, our inboxes are inundated with marketing love letters, and every other colleague arrives wearing red. Valentine's Day famously divides opinion; it's the Marmite of our year. While once a marker of romance and tradition, the occasion has become laden with clichés and commercialisation, filling the late-winter void between Christmas and Easter that gapes in the retail calendar. So, here at FCB Inferno, we're throwing it back, reigniting the romance and penning letters of love to our favourite campaigns. Declaring our feelings and pouring out our passion for the campaigns that hold a special soft spot in our hearts. 

Joint design lead, Becci Salmon, asks us to cast our minds back to 2014: "A significant time for design where we were moving away from skeuomorphic design to the flat design we have grown to know and love. Arguably kickstarted and popularised by Apple's release of iOS 7 in late 2013. I would say that Airbnb brought this very important design style into mainstream branding and advertising. I was lucky enough to be an intern at DesignStudio when they were developing the iconic rebrand, so having an insight to the amount of research craft and love that went into the project. It really solidifies my love and appreciation for it. You might think that a lot of brands look like Airbnb these days, but they do say that imitation is the best form of flattery. Their logo mark brings together people, places and love. How very appropriate for Valentine's Day."

Jack Steer, one of our senior account managers, shares his long-standing admiration for Stella Artois' 'Ice Skating Priest' in this letter of love: "Stella's 'Ice Skating Priests' is my all-time favourite TV ad. Not because I think it is the best ad ever made, but because it has always stuck in my head since the very first time I saw it on TV – way before I was interested in a career in advertising, and certainly long before I had my first sip of a Stella. It was one of many fantastic insertions of Stella's 'Reassuringly Expensive' campaign which ran for around 25 years. Committing yourself to a high price point, and confidently backing it, is an incredibly bold thing to do. But the positioning paid off and the campaign proved hugely successful - standing the test of time. To me, this particular ad is a stark reminder that less is more (something which we all sometimes forget). I was 12 at the time this spot was released back in 2005, and the simplicity of the story, the subtle humour, and the film's treatment has stuck with me ever since. This probably goes some way to explaining why 14 years later Stella Artois is my favourite lager. It will be helping me drown my single life sorrows this Valentines."

For senior creative producer, Russ Mallows, it's all about Nike who hit the spot with their '66 was a great year for English football' ad in 1994. He loved the humour of celebrating French footballer, Eric Cantona shouting over the England fans banging on about the only time we've won the world cup'. Senior creative, Nicole Chen, has newfound feelings for Nike's recent campaign celebrating Chinese New Year: "It is fun, funny, and it perfectly captures my experience of CNY growing up."

Sharon Jiggins, EVP, client services, told us how the last five years of This Girl Can campaigns act as a reminder for her to love herself enough to exercise today.

In tune to love never growing old, I personally have an undying affection for a campaign from 13 years ago. It's for Net 10, an American cell service provider that I'm sure is long out of business. The ads spoofed old superhero cartoon villains like the Legion of Doom from Super Friends, showing how other service providers were truly, unimaginably evil – even by super villain standards. They're weird and silly, and I love them bits to this Day. Droga5 circa 2007, I confess, I still have feelings for you.

Meanwhile, comms executive, Hannah Meneer, is sending all her love to 'The Last Ever Issue': "Not only did they buy-out the once-popular, now failing porn mag Twój Weekend, but they turned its entire premise on its head, transgressively undermining everything the magazine once stood for. The pages which were once littered with explicit images were replaced with glittering love letters to some of Poland's most powerful women. I think it's one of the best always-on campaigns since KFC's FCK. So, there it is, VMLY&R Poland, will you be my Valentine."

So, if you're drowning in a sea of pink today, join us in celebrating the campaigns you love.

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FCB London, Fri, 14 Feb 2020 15:45:48 GMT